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OF    THE 




Copyright,  1902  and  1903,  by 



Editor's  Preface        ..........        vii 

CHAPTER  I.      1809-1824. 

Poe's  Ancestry,  Birth,  and  Earlier  Years  at  Rich 

mond  :  School-Days  in  England  and  Virginia    .  i 

CHAPTER  II.      1826. 
Poe's  Environment  at  the  University  of  Virginia    .        35 

CHAPTER  III.      1827-1829. 
The  Early  Poems.      The  Legendary  Years       .      .        64 

CHAPTER  IV.      1829-1830. 
At  West  Point.      The  Poems  of  1  8  3  1   .  __1_1___fc~__  £2 

CHAPTER  V.      1831-1836. 

The  Dark  Years.     The  Baltimore  "  Visiter  "  and 

Latrobe's  Reminiscences.      Marriage        ...        96 

CHAPTER  VI.      1837-1840. 
Adrift  :  New  York  and  Philadelphia      ....      120 


CHAPTER  VII.     1840-1844.   . 


Philadelphia:     New    York;    Burton's    "  Gentle 
man's  Magazine  ;"    tf  Graham's  Magazine  "     .      153 

CHAPTER  VIII.      1844-1845. 
New  York  ;   "  The  Broadway  Journal  "     .      .      .      187 

CHAPTER  IX.      1845. 
"The  Raven" 213 

CHAPTER  X.      1845. 

Tales  :  Poems;  Longfellow  War;  End  of  "The 

Broadway  Journal " 228 

CHAPTER  XI.      1846. 
Social  and  Literary  Life  in  New  York  :  The  Literati     241 

CHAPTER  XII.      1846-1847. 
P'ordham  :  The  Death  of  Virginia  Poe  ....      252 

CHAPTER  XIII.      1848. 
"Eureka" 269 

CHAPTER  XIV.      1848. 
Mrs.  Whitman;   "  The  Bells  ;"    Mrs.  Osgood    .      281 

CHAPTER  XV.      1848-1849. 
"Stella."      "Annie."      Philadelphia    .      .      .      .      299 


CHAPTER  XVI.      1849. 


Last  Days  in  Richmond 310 

CHAPTER  XVII.      1849. 

In  Baltimore  :  The  End 327 


Foe's  Autobiography 343 

Mrs.  ClemnVs  Preface  to  the  Griswold  Edition      .  347 

The  "Ludwig  Article"  (R.  W.  Griswold)     .      .  348 

Death  of  Edgar  A.  Poe  (N.  P.  Willis)        ...  360 

Edgar  Allan  Poe  (J.  R.  Lowell) 367 

Edgar  A.  Poe  (P.  Pendleton  Cooke)     .      .      .      .  383 

The  Late  Edgar  A.  Poe  (John  R.  Thompson)     .  392 

Defence  of  Poe  (George  R.  Graham)     .      .      „      .  399 

Index 411 

Index  to  Appendix 427 

Bibliography  of  the  Writings  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe  431 


THE  present  two  volumes,  devoted  to  the  Life  and 
Letters  of  Edgar  Allan  Foe,  have  their  justification 
from  several  points  of  view.  They  have  to  deal  with 
one  of  the  foremost  —  if  not  the  foremost  —  of  literary 
figures  in  America.  They  give  a  new  picture  of  the 
author's  habits  and  works.  They  represent  original 
research  and  the  accumulation  of  important  material 
from  widely  scattered  or  generally  inaccessible  places. 
And,  aside  from  their  value,  they  tell  the  story  of  a 
strange,  romantic  life. 

The  biography  is  justified  by  recently  discovered 
letters  and  facts  which  substantiate  many  things  and 
disprove  many  others.  Through  inquiry  and  corre 
spondence  with  Poe's  still  surviving  contemporaries, 
new  light  has  been  thrown  on  the  poet's  early  and 
middle  life.  Many  important  articles,  moreover,  have 
appeared  in  the  periodical  press  in  the  last  decade,  and 
their  substance  has  been  utilized  in  this  volume. 

A  perusal  of  the  Life  side  by  side  with  the  Letters  — 
now  for  the  first  time  collected  —  will  prove  thorough 
going  and  of  unusual  interest.  After  reading  a  chapter 
in  the  life-story,  the  letters  from  Poe  and  to  Poe,  per 
taining  to  that  period,  will  gleam  with  hidden  meaning 
and  human  feeling.  In  this  way,  it  is  hoped,  the 


publication  of  this  Life  and  these  Letters  conjointly  will 
be  of  service  to  the  world  of  literature. 

The  story  of  Poe's  life  has  been  subject  to  so  many 
errors,  popular  fallacies,  and  editorial  misstatements, 
that  a  true  and  unbiassed  account  of  it  is  difficult  to 
set  forth.  The  present  volume  is  the  result  of  much 
delving  among  original  material  and  first-hand  sources. 
The  effort,  throughout,  has  been  to  present  the  man 
as  he  was,  neither  deified  by  over-admiring  friends  nor 
vilified  by  over-zealous  enemies. 

Poe's  autobiographic  "Memorandum,"  found 
among  Dr.  R.  W.  Griswold's  papers,  is  printed  from 
the  original  MS.,  through  the  courtesy  of  Mrs.  Wm. 
M.  Griswold.  Its  inaccuracies  are  brought  out  in  an 
editorial  note.  It  will  be  found  in  the  Appendix, 
together  with  several  articles  by  the  poet's  contempo 

Letters  quoted  in  the  Life  are  not  repeated  in  the 
volume  of  Letters,  but  are  referred  to  in  their  proper 
chronological  place. 

These  two  volumes  were  originally  prepared  for  a 
complete  edition  of  Poe's  Works,  in  seventeen  volumes, 
known  as  the  <f  Virginia  Edition."  In  the  General 
Preface  to  that  edition,  the  editor  makes  grateful  ac 
knowledgment  to  biographers,  editors,  librarians,  and 
other  generous  assistants  whose  active  co-operation  was 
essential  to  the  completion  of  the  work.  To  the 
authors  of  lives  or  memorials  of  Poe  —  Messrs.  G.  E. 
Woodberry,  J.  H.  Ingram,  W.  F.  Gill,  R.  H.  Stod- 
dard,  E.  L.  Didier,  J.  G.  Wilson,  and  Miss  S.  S. 
Rice  —  especial  thanks  are  due. 



EDGAR  ALLAN  POE Frontispiece 

From  painting,  by  Samuel  S.  Osgood,  owned  by  the 
New  York  Historical  Society. 


Mother  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe.  From  a  miniature  in  the 
possession  of  J.  H.  Ingram. 


From  a  silhouette. 

UNIVERSITY  OF  VIRGINIA,  WEST  RANGE       .      .        52 

Poe's  room,  No.  13,  is  back  of  the  second  arch  to 
the  left  of  the  letter-box.  The  room  at  the  extreme 
right  of  the  picture  (in  the  other  building)  is  also 
claimed  to  be  Poe's  room. 

FACULTY  RECORD  FOR  DEC.   20,   1826     ...       56 

Containing  an  examination  into  the  charge  that  the 
University  of  Virginia  hotel-keepers  drank  and  gam 
bled  with  students. 

FACULTY  RECORD  FOR  DEC.  20,   1826     ...        58 

Containing  an  examination  into  the  charge  that  the 
University  of  Virginia  hotel-keepers  drank  and  gam 
bled  with  students. 


University  of  Virginia.      (  Excelled  in  Latin.  ) 




University  of  Virginia.  (Excelled  in  Senior  French 
Class. ) 

TAMERLANE.      (Titlepage) 65 

AL  AARAAF.      (Titlepage) 74 

MRS.  JOHN  ALLAN,  zd 78 

From  a  small,  white  marble  bust  carved  in  Naples,  here 
reproduced  by  the  courtesy  of  Mrs.  G.  W.  Mayo, 
Mrs.  Allan's  niece. 

POEMS,  1831.      (Titlepage) 94 


Father  of  Virginia  Poe.  From  an  engraving  in  the 
possession  of  Amelia  F.  Poe. 


RICHMOND,  VA.  (1902) n8 

Poe  edited  the  "Messenger"  here  from  December, 
1836,  to  January,  1837.  The  back  building  ad 
joining  was  occupied  by  Allan  &  Ellis,  tobacconists, 
the  firm  in  which  Poe's  "  foster-father  "  was  senior 


From  engraving,  by  Armstrong,  of  portrait  by  Read 


From  engraving. 

CONCHOLOGIST'S   FIRST  BOOK.     (Titlepage)  .     .      146 


Mrs.  Clemm's  daughter  and  the  wife  of  Edgar  Allan 
Poe.  Reproduced  from  a  photograph  of  a  water- 
color  sketch  in  the  possession  of  Amelia  F.  Poe. 
Copyright,  1893,  by  Amelia  F.  Poe. 



Poe's  mother-in-law.  From  daguerreotype  taken  in 
Lowell  in  1849. 


From  engraving  by  Capewell  and  Kimmell. 

THE   RAVEN.      (Titlepage) 213 


From  engraving. 


Where  he  resided,  1846—49. 

LETTER  FROM  POE  TO  MRS.   SHEW   (Facsimile)  265 

THE   BELLS.      (Facsimile  of  original  MSS.)     .      .  286 

SARAH  HELEN  WHITMAN      .......  290 

From  an  engraving  by  Charles  Skinner,  after  a  painting 
by  C.  J.  Thompson.  Reproduced  by  permission  of 
the  Whitman  heirs. 


From  photograph  by  Edyth  Carter  Beveridge,  Rich 
mond,  Va. 






WHEN  he  was  five-and-twenty  years  old  Edgar  Allan 
Poe  wrote  the  following  letter  to  his  life-long  friend 
Kennedy,  author  of  "  Swallow  Barn,"  (<  Horseshoe 
Robinson,"  etc.,  and  afterwards  Secretary  of  the  Navy 
under  President  Fillmore,  in  1852  : 

BALTIMORE,  November,  1834. 

DEAR  SIR  :  I  have  a  favor  to  beg  of  you  which  I 
thought  it  best  to  ask  in  writing,  because,  sincerely,  I 
had  not  courage  to  ask  it  in  person.  I  am  indeed  too 
well  aware  that  I  have  no  claim  whatever  to  your  atten 
tion,  and  that  even  the  manner  of  my  introduction  to  your 
notice  was  at  the  best  equivocal.  Since  the  day  you  first 
saw  me,  my  situation  in  life  has  altered  materially.  At 
that  time  I  looked  forward  to  the  inheritance  of  a  large 
fortune,  and,  in  the  meantime,  was  in  receipt  of  an  annu 
ity  for  my  support.  This  was  allowed  me  by  a  gentle 
man  of  Virginia  (Mr.  Jno.  Allan)  who  adopted  me  at 
VOL.  i.  —  i 


the  age  of  two  years  (both  my  parents  being  dead),  and 
who,  until  lately,  always  treated  me  with  the  affection  of 
a  father.  But  a  second  marriage  on  his  part,  and  I  dare 
say  many  follies  on  my  own,  at  length  ended  in  a  quarrel 
between  us.  He  is  now  dead,  and  has  left  me  nothing. 
I  am  thrown  entirely  upon  my  own  resources,  with  no 
profession  and  very  few  friends.  Worse  than  all  this,  I 
am  at  length  penniless.  Indeed  no  circumstances  less 
urgent  would  have  induced  me  to  risk  your  friendship  by 
troubling  you  with  my  distresses.  But  I  could  not  help 
thinking  that  if  my  situation  was  stated  —  as  you  could 
state  it  —  to  Carey  &  Lea,1  they  might  be  led  to  aid  me 
with  a  small  sum  in  consideration  of  my  MS.  now  in 
their  hands.  This  would  relieve  my  immediate  wants, 
and  I  could  then  look  forward  more  confidently  to  better 
days.  At  all  events  receive  the  assurance  of  my  grati 
tude  for  what  you  have  already  done. 

Most  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 


This  letter  is  an  epitome  in  brief  of  Poe's  whole 
career,  containing  as  it  does  indubitable  data  as  to 
his  early  life,  intimations  of  his  marvellous  precocity 
(second  only  to  that  of  Shelley,  Heine,  Keats,  or 
Hugo),  and  indications  of  the  long-lasting  misery  in 
which  his  short  life  (also  like  that  of  Shelley  and 
Keats)  was  to  be  spent. 

Poe,  the  poet  Virginian,  as  he  loved  to  call  himself 
—  "I  am  a  Virginian,  —  at  least  I  call  myself  one, 
for  I  have  resided  all  my  life,  until  within  the  last 
few  years,  in  Richmond,"  he  says  to  his  friend  F.  W. 
Thomas  —  was  born  in  Boston,  January  19,  1809. 

1  In  a  note  Mr.  Kennedy  explains  :  "  This  refers  to  the  volume 
of  Tales  sent  to  Carey  &  Lea  —  '  Tales  of  the  Arabesque,'  etc.,  — 
being  two  series  submitted  for  the  prize,  for  which  one  was  chosen, 
and  two  others  at  my  suggestion  sent  to  Carey  &  Lea." — J.  P.  K. 


He  was  not  "born  in  Baltimore,  in  January,  181 1,"  l 
as  Griswold's  memoir  puts  it,  — perhaps  following  a 
wrong  date  given  by  Poe  himself,  —  repeating  the 
statement  in  "Prose  Writers  of  America  "  (second 
edition:  Philadelphia,  Carey  &  Hart,  1847)  ;  an 
error  enlarged  unintentionally  by  James  Russell  Lowell 
in  the  February  number  of  Graham's  Magazine,  i  845, 
who  says  that  "Mr.  Poe  was  then  [1845]  about 
thirty-two  years  of  age  "  and  "  still  in  the  prime  of 
life."  In  his  later  years  Poe  either  could  not  or 
would  not  tell  the  truth  about  his  age. 

The  fact  is  however  undeniable  that  Poe  was  born 
in  Boston,  disagreeable  as  the  fact  was  to  him  "all 
through  his  life,  and  that  his  first  volume  —  the 
famous  "Tamerlane  and  Other  Poems,"  of  1827  — 
bore  on  its  titlepage,  "  By  a  Bostonian,"  in  capital 

With  the  peculiar  perversity  with  which  children 
sometimes  rail  at  their  mothers,  however,  Poe  per 
petually  railed  at  Boston  and  treated  her  as  the  unfor 
tunate  noverca  of  the  Roman  plays  ;  and  Boston  in 
return  has  avenged  herself  on  her  wayward  child  by 
bringing  railing  accusations  against  him  and  supplying 
for  him  an  endless  chain  of  embittered  biographers. 

The  biographers  of  Poe  are  indebted  to  Mr.  John 
H.  Ingram2  for  the  surest  testimony,  obtained  from 
the  poet's  family  in  Baltimore,  as  to  his  ancestry. 

"  There  is  no  good  reason,"  says  John  P.  Poe, 
Esq.,  of  Baltimore,  "  to  suppose  that  the  ancestors  of 

1  Edgar  A.  Poe's  Miscellaneous  Works,  Redfield,  New  York, 
1849,  p.  xxiii. 

2  Edgar  Allan  Poe  :   His  Life,  Letters,  and  Opinions  :  By  John 
H.  Ingram  :    London,    1880  :    John    Hogg  :    2  vols.  :    p.   245, 
Vol.  H.,  W.  F.  Gill  (London,  1878),  pp.  9-20. 


Edgar  A.  Poe  were  descended  from  the  Le  Poers 
[the  Anglo-Norman  family  who  passed  from  Italy  to 
France,  and  from  France  to  England,  Wales,  and 
Ireland,  and  with  whom  Mrs.  Sarah  Helen  Whitman, 
the  poet's  fiancee  in  1848  connected  her  own  and 
Poe's  progenitors].  John  Poe,  the  progenitor  of  the 
family  in  America,  emigrated  from  the  north  of  Ire 
land  a  number  of  years  before  the  Revolution,  and 
purchased  a  farm  in  Lancaster  County,  Pennsylvania, 
whence  he  afterwards  removed  to  Cecil  County, 
Maryland.  At  the  time  of  the  Revolution  he  was 
residing  at  Baltimore.  His  wife  was  Jane  McBride, 
believed  to  be  a  sister  [not  a  daughter,  as  frequently 
stated]  of  James  McBride,  Admiral  of  the  Blue,  and 
M.  P.  for  Plymouth  in  1785." 

Mrs.  Clemm,  Poe's  aunt  and  mother-in-law,  says, 
"  My  father  was  born  in  Ireland,  but  his  parents  left 
there  when  he  was  only  six  weeks  old,  and  he  was  so 
patriotic  that  he  never  would  acknowledge  he  was  any 
other  than  an  American.  He  lived  in  Baltimore  from 
the  time  of  the  Revolution  ;  he  took  my  mother  there 
from  Pennsylvania,  a  bride."  x 

General  David  Poe,  the  poet's  grandfather,  was  a 
distinguished  veteran  of  the  American  Revolution,  a 
devoted  friend  of  Lafayette  (for  whose  ragged  troops 
in  1781  Mrs.  Poe  personally  cut  out  and  superin 
tended  the  manufacture  of  five  hundred  garments), 
and  quartermaster-general  of  the  American  forces  in 

David,  the  eldest  son  of  General  Poe,  was  the 
poet's  father. 

Beverley  Tucker,  the  well-known  contributor  to 
The  Southern  Literary  Messenger  and  author  of  "  The 

1  Ingram,  Vol.  II.,  p.  249  seq. 


Partizan  Leader,"  wrote  in  1835  that  he  "remem 
bered  Poe's  beautiful  mother  when  a  girl." 

This  beautiful  girl  had  elements  of  the  sprite  about 
her,  being  a  "girl  without  a  country,"  born  in  mid- 
ocean  while  her  English  mother  was  journeying  across 
the  Atlantic  from  England  to  America,  and  she  possessed 
rare  talents  for  singing,  dancing,  and  acting.  No  one 
can  look  at  the  portrait  of  Elizabeth  Arnold  (for  such 
was  her  maiden  name)  without  seeing  in  it  foreshadow- 
ings  of  those  ethereal  Eleonoras  and  Ligeias  that  haunted 
the  poet's  dreams  with  their  delicate  impalpabilities, 
their  Indian-summer-like  vagueness  :  the  childlike 
figure,  the  great,  wide  open,  mysterious  eyes,  the 
abundant  curling  hair  confined  in  the  quaint  bonnet  of 
a  hundred  years  ago  and  shadowing  the  brow  in  raven 
masses,  the  high  waist  and  attenuated  arms  clasped  in 
an  Empire  robe  of  faint,  flowered  design,  the  tiny  but 
rounded  neck  and  shoulders,  the  head  proudly  erect. 
It  is  the  face  of  an  elf,  a  sprite,  an  Undine  who  was 
to  be  the  mother  of  the  most  elfish,  the  most  unearthly 
of  poets,  whose  luminous  dark-gray  eyes  had  a  glint 
of  the  supernatural  in  them  and  reflected,  as  he  says  in 
one  of  his  earliest  poems,  "  the  wilder' d  "  nature  of 
the  man. 

Rich  currents  of  Irish,  Scotch,  English,  and  Ameri 
can  blood  ran  together  in  his  palpitating  veins  and  pro 
duced  a  psychic  blend  unlike  that  of  any  other  American 
poet :  Celtic  mysticism,  Irish  fervor,  Scotch  melody, 
the  iris-tipped  fantasy  of  the  Shelleys  and  the  Cole- 
ridges,  and  the  independence  and  alertness  of  the  trans 
atlantic  American  into  whom  all  the  Old- World 
characteristics  had  been  born,  on  whom  all  these 
treasures  of  music  and  imagination,  of  passion  and 
mystery  had  been  bestowed  by  some  fairy  godmother. 


Elizabeth  Arnold  was  a  widow  when  she  married 
David  Poe,  Jr.,  in  1805,  her  first  husband  having 
been  the  light  comedian  C.  D.  Hopkins.  He  died  in 
October,  1805,  and  the  Poe  marriage  followed  shortly 
after.  Mr.  George  E.  Woodberry,  in  his  painstaking 
biography,1  traces  out  the  Bohemian  wanderings  of 
grandmother  Arnold,  Elizabeth  Arnold,  Mrs.  Hopkins, 
David  Poe,  and  Elizabeth  Arnold  Poe,  from  Maine  to 
Charleston  and  from  New  York  ar\d  Boston  to  Rich 
mond,  Washington,  Norfolk,  and  Petersburg,  where 
the  gay  little  company  (sad  enough  at  times)  performed 
all  sorts  of  pieces  in  which  the  arch,  roguish,  Ariel-like 
nature  of  Mrs.  Poe  drew  the  attention  of  critics,  and  in 
which  her  great  versatility  now  enabled  her  to  imper 
sonate  tender  Ophelias  and  Cordelias,  Palmyras  and 
Sigismundas,  now  to  sing  and  dance  Polish  minuets  to 
David  Poe's  reels  and  horn-pipes. 

Mr.  Woodberry  has  killed  the  elopement  slander  : 
there  was  no  elopement  ;  and  David  Poe  was  simply 
a  wayward,  handsome,  theatre-loving  young  gallant 
of  twenty-five  who  joined  the  Hopkins  Company  in 
1804,  and  became  a  strolling  player  like  Will  Shak- 
spere  and  Jean  Poquelin  Moliere,  giving  up  forever  his 
law-books  and  his  uncle's  home  in  Augusta,  Georgia, 
in  favor  of  the  boards. 

After  their  marriage  the  two  became  "Virginia 
Comedians,"  and  the  career  of  the  couple  may  be  traced 
in  the  various  gazettes  and  periodicals  of  the  time, 
especially  in  the  so-called  "  elegant  literature  "  of  the 

At  length  a  stop  —  in  Boston  —  came  to  the  wan 
derings  :  January  19,  1809,  Mrs.  Poe  did  not  appear 
—  but  Edgar  did  ! 

1  Edgar  Allan  Poe  :  American  Men  of  Letters,  pp.  1—14. 


Three  weeks  after,  the  poor  little  woman  —  whose 
great  eyes  look  out  on  us  so  wistfully  from  the  minia 
ture  so  passionately  beloved  by  her  son  —  was  singing 
and  dancing  again  merrily  before  the  Boston  boards, 
—  with  that  merriment  that  must  have  been  nigh  to 
heart-break,  for  she  was  now  the  mother  of  two  little 
sons,  William  Henry  Leonard  and  Edgar  (followed 
two  years  later  by  Rosalie  Poe) ,  with  no  steady  or 
reliable  means  of  support,  and  her  husband  probably 
already  attacked  by  consumption.  All  her  life  the 
mother  engaged  in  a  life-and-death  struggle  with  pov 
erty  and  penury,  like  her  gifted  son  :  all  their  lives 
mother  and  son  were  entangled  in  that  vast  Disaster 
which  came  to  such  thrilling  expression  in  "  The 
Raven,"  sinking  in  "  desperate  seas  "  of  misery  and 
succumbing  at  last  to  the  storm  and  stress  of  life,  the 
one  in  Richmond,  the  other  in  Baltimore. 

"  For  my  little  son  Edgar,  who  should  ever  love 
Boston,  the  place  of  his  birth,  and  where  his  mother 
found  her  best  and  most  sympathetic  friends  "  :  such 
are  the  words  1  written  in  delicate  caligraphy  by  the 
mother  on  the  back  of  a  little  picture  which  she 
painted  and  bequeathed  to  her  son  ;  words,  however, 
written  before  the  final  tragedy,  a  fore-knowledge  of 
which  would  perhaps  have  substituted  Richmond  for 
Boston,  and  the  lifelong  Virginia  friends  for  the  casual 
Boston  theatre  acquaintances. 

It  is  singular  that  some  of  these  Boston  friends  had 
the  names  of  Usher  and  Wilson,  names  afterwards  so 
celebrated  in  the  tales  of  the  author. 

The  year  1 8 1 1  found  the  players  in  Richmond, 
Virginia,  —  if,  indeed,  David  Poe  was  at  this  time 
living,  which  is  at  least  doubtful.  Little  Rosalie  (who 

1  Ingram,  I.,  6. 


lived  until  1874  an<^  died  in  the  Epiphany  Church 
Home  at  Washington,  D.  C.,  an  object  of  charity) 
came  after  her  father's  death  to  add  to  the  troubles 
and  distresses  of  the  mother. 

The  two  short  years  which  Edgar  Poe  had  already 
lived  had  been  signalized  by  some  remarkable  things : 
the  year  of  his  birth  was  indeed  an  Annus  Mirabilis. 
His  favorite  poets,  Elizabeth  Barrett  Barrett  (to  whom, 
as  "  the  noblest  of  her  sex"  he  dedicated  "  The 
Raven  and  Other  Poems"  in  1845)  and  Alfred 
Tennyson  ("the  greatest  poet  that  ever  lived") 
were  born  in  that  year ;  Charles  Darwin,  who  revo 
lutionized  science,  and  Chopin  and  Mendelssohn, 
the  great  musicians ;  Abraham  Lincoln,  the  great 
Southern  emancipator  ;  Gladstone,  the  famous  orator ; 
Fanny  Kemble,  the  subtle  interpreter  of  Shakspere  ; 
Oliver  Wendell  Holmes,  the  wit  and  poet,  —  formed 
an  illustrious  galaxy  of  new-born  children -contempo 
raries  of  Poe,  making  the  year  i  809,  when  Madison 
was  president,  Metternich  prime  minister  of  Austria, 
and  the  Battle  of  Wagram  was  fought,  a  starred  year 
in  the  historic  calendar. 

No  tragedy  in  later  times  is  more  fraught  with  in 
finite  pathos  than  the  sufferings  and  death  of  the  Poes 
in  1 8 1 1 .  Travelling  in  those  days  was  exceedingly 
difficult  and  dangerous,  accompanied  by  all  the  incon 
veniences,  not  to  say  horrors,  of  the  old  "  Conti 
nental "  stage-coach  system,  terrible  roads,  and  inter 
minable  distances.  From  1805,  when  their  marriage 
took  place,  the  Poes  incessantly  travelled  —  from 
Boston  to  New  York,  from  New  York  to  Philadelphia, 
Washington,  far  South  to  distant  Charleston,  Norfolk, 
Richmond,  back  to  New  York  again,  flitting  like 
wandering  birds  from  bough  to  bough,  in  hopes  of  an 


engagement,  rolling  over  the  country  in  the  wretched 
vehicles  of  the  time,  encumbered  with  theatrical  bag 
gage  and  two  forlorn  little  babes  (sometimes  left  with 
Baltimore  relatives). 

With  the  mighty  will  of  Ligeia,  which  in  more 
than  one  trait  appears  to  be  the  life  of  Foe's  mother 
wrought  into  a  strange  and  tender  story,  the  delicate 
woman  moves  in  her  appointed  task,  determined  to 
support  herself  and  her  children,  until  she  reached 
Richmond,  Virginia,  in  August,  1 8 1 1 .  All  these 
years  it  had  been  romantic  and  sentimental  drama, 
song,  dance,  light  comedy  ;  Mrs.  Poe  had  represented 
nymphs  and  Ariels  and  cupids,  distressed  Ophelias  and 
Shaksperian  Desdemonas.  Now,  —  it  was  tragedy, 
pure  and  simple  —  starvation  —  death. 

After  Rosalie's  birth  the  mother  fell  into  a  swift  de 
cline,  beginning  to  waste  and  fade  like  a  waxen  taper 
before  the  inward  burnings  of  consumption.  Never 
surrendering  or  giving  up  hope,  she  went  on  announc 
ing  and  acting  until  the  destitution  of  the  family 
attracted  somehow  the  charitable  attention  of  the  Rich 
mond  ladies :  benefits  were  arranged  by  the  kind- 
hearted  players  ;  and  at  last  the  following  card 
appeared  in  the  Enquirer  for  November  29,  1811  :  l 


"  On  this  night  Mrs.  Poe,  lingering  on  the  bed  of  dis 
ease  and  surrounded  by  her  children,  asks  your  assistance, 
and  asks  it,  perhaps,  for  the  last  time.  The  generosity 
of  a  Richmond  audience  can  need  no  other  appeal.  —  For 
particulars  see  the  bills  of  the  day.1' 

1  The  author  is  indebted  to  Dr.  Wm.  Hand  Browne  for  these 
clippings,  which  are  accurately  reprinted. 

10  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

A  few  days  later,  on  a  date  very  near  the  happy 
and  blessed  Christmas  time,  the  time  of  supremely 
happy  mothers  and  loving  children,  the  curtain  rose  for 
the  last  time  on  the  final  act  of  the  tragedy  of  David 
Poe  and  Elizabeth  Arnold  : 

"  DECEMBER   10,  1811. 

"  Died,  on  last  Sunday  morning,  Mrs.  Poe,  one  of 
the  actresses  of  the  company  at  present  playing  on  the 
Richmond  boards.  By  the  death  of  this  lady  the  stage 
has  been  deprived  of  one  of  its  chief  ornaments  j  and  to 
say  the  least  of  her,  she  was  an  interesting  actress,  and 
never  failed  to  catch  the  applause  and  command  the  ad 
miration  of  the  beholder."  —  Enquirer,  December  10, 

If,  as  Mr.  Gill  asserts,1  the  father  died  three  days 
later  of  the  same  dread  disease,  the  cup  of  suffering 
must  have  overflowed  and  the  orphaned  children  been 
desolate  indeed.  The  Gill  Biography  further  con 
tains  an  unsupported  statement  (Appendix,  319)  that 
"  Mr.  Allan  and  Mr.  Mackenzie,  both  wealthy  and 
benevolent  Scotch  gentlemen,  having  been  informed 
that  the  Poes  were  in  great  distress,  sought  them  out 
to  afford  them  relief.  They  were  found  in  wretched 
lodgings,  lying  upon  a  straw-bed,  and  very  sick,  Mr. 
Poe  with  consumption,  and  his  wife  with  pneumonia. 
There  was  no  food  in  the  house.  They  had  no 
money  or  fuel,  and  their  clothes  had  been  pawned 
or  sold. 

"  Two  little  children  were  with  the  parents,  in  the 
care  of  an  old  Welsh  woman  who  had  come  over 
from  England  with  Mrs.  Poe,  and  who  was  understood 
to  be  her  mother.  The  children  were  half-clad,  half- 

1  Life  of  Edgar  A.   Poe,  p.  20  ;  Chatto  &  Windus  :   1878. 


Mother  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe,from  a  miniature  in  the 
possession  of  J.  H.  Ingram. 



starved,  and  very  much  emaciated.  { The  youngest 
was  in  a  stupor,  cailsed  by  feeding  on  bread  steeped  in 
gin.  The  old  woman  acknowledged  that  she  was  in 
the  habit  of  so  feeding  them,  '  to  keep  them  quiet  and 
make  them  strong.'  **j 

This  account  has  drily  too  many  touches  of  verisimil 
itude  in  it. 

And  the  author  adds  :  "  Mr.  Mackenzie,  shocked 
at  this  spectacle,  took  the  children  to  his  own  house, 
where  they  were  tenderly  cared  for.  A  few  days 
wrought  a  great  change  in  their  appearance,  and  the 
beauty  and  intelligence  of  little  Edgar  became  a  subject 
of  universal  comment.  William  Henry,  the  elder 
brother,  had  already  been  sent  to  his  grandfather 
[General  PoeJ  in  Baltimore." 

Two  weeks  and  two  days  later,  after  Mrs.  Poe  had 
been  laid  to  rest  in  a  now  unknown  grave  in  one  of 
the  beautiful  Richmond  cemeteries,  the  Broad  Street 
Theatre  where  Mr.  Placide's  gay  little  company  of 
Virginia  Comedians  had  so  merrily  pranced  and 
capered,  was  consumed  in  the  awful  conflagration  of 
Christmas  Eve,  1811,  in  which  the  governor  of  Vir 
ginia  and  sixty  other  persons  of  high  social  distinction 
perished  ;  and  from  its  ashes  rose  the  Monumental 
Church  in  memory  of  the  tragic  event. 

The  tragedy  quoted  in  The  Conqueror  Worm  could 
not  have  been  more  sudden  and  terrible  : 

"Lo  !  'tis  a  gala  night 

Within  the  lonesome  latter  years  : 
An  angel  throng,  bewinged,  bedight 

In  veils,  and  drowned  in  tears, 
Sit  in  a  theatre  to  see 

A  play  of  hopes  and  fears, 
While  the  orchestra  breathes  fitfully 

The  music  of  the  spheres. ' ' 

12  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

Can  the  exquisite  yet  awful  imagery  of  this  poem, 
full  as  it  is  of  theatre  memories,  —  mimes,  puppets, 
shifting  scenery,  funereal  curtains,  phantom  forms,  — 
have  twined  itself  somehow  about  the  memory  of  his 
mother  in  connection  with  the  burning  of  the  Rich 
mond  Theatre,  about  which  all  Virginia  never  ceased 
to  talk  for  half  a  century,  and  which  sent  a  thrill  of 
horror  all  over  the  United  States  ?  Little  Edgar  must 
often  have  heard  it  discussed,  and  must  have  watched 
the  memorial  church  as  it  slowly  rose  out  of  the  grave 
of  the  theatre  where  his  mother  had  charmed  the  Rich 
mond  audiences  with  her  beauty  and  grace  so  many 
times  long  before.1 

It  is  asserted  that  only  an  accident  kept  the  Allans 
from  the  theatre  that  evening. 


RICHMOND,  Virginia,  is  one  of  the  most  beautiful 
places  in  the  old  Commonwealth  renowned  for  beauti 
ful  sites.  Founded  more  than  one  hundred  and  fifty 
years  ago,  it  got  its  name  from  the  lovely  old  English 
village  of  Richmond  above  London  near  which  Car 
dinal  Wolsey  had  built  lordly  Hampton  Court,  with 
Pope's  Twickenham  near  by,  Stoke  Pogis  Church  and 
its  immortal  Elegy  in  the  distance,  and  Horace  Wai- 
pole's  villa  and  the  glimmering  Thames  throwing 
their  clustering  associations  into  the  picture. 

At  Richmond  it  was  (and  is)  delightful  to  live, 
and  here,  in  1 8 1 1 ,  having  been  adopted  by  Mr. 
John  Allan,  an  Ayrshire  Scotchman  from  the  land  of 

1  There  was  even  a  long-lasting  tradition  that  the  Poes  had 
been  burned  alive  in  the  theatre. 


Burns,  Edgar  Allan  Poe  took  up  his  abode,  a  two- 
year-old  child,  precociously  clever  and  beautiful.  Dur 
ing  his  most  impressionable  years,  the  city  was  the 
most  intellectual  and  —  with  the  exception  of  New  Or 
leans  —  the  gayest  city  of  the  South.  It  was  full  of  old 
families  that  had  furnished  statesmen,  legislators,  gov 
ernors,  generals,  and  Congressmen  to  the  United  States  ; 
the  presidents  of  the  United  States  frequently  resorted 
there  in  family  reunions  and  on  social  visits  ;  distin 
guished  foreigners  like  Lafayette,  after  visiting  Mount 
Vernon  and  Monticello  and  Montpelier,  drifted  natu 
rally  to  the  hospitable  metropolis  of  the  oldest  of  the 
states  and  were  royally  entertained  with  the  far-famed 
Old  Virginia  profusion. 

Little  Edgar's  childhood  and  youth  were  passed  in 
an  atmosphere  of  sociability,  open-air  sports,  oratory, 
and  elocution.  Patrick  Henry,  the  great  orator  of 
the  Revolution,  lay  in  the  neighboring  churchyard  of 
Old  St.  John's  ;  Chief-Justice  Marshall,  the  greatest 
of  the  justices  of  the  Supreme  Court,  and  John  Ran- 
doph  of  Roanoke,  celebrated  for  silver  voice  and 
stinging  sarcasm,  were  familiar  figures  in  Richmond 
streets  ;  retired  presidents  like  Jefferson,  Madison, 
and  Monroe,  after  they  had  laid  off  the  robes  of 
office  mingled  with  democratic  simplicity  in  the  cul 
tured  throngs  that  haunted  the  parlors  of  Capitol  Square 
and  Shockoe  Hill,  or  of  the  suburban  homes  where 
the  neighboring  plantations  projected  far  into  the  edges 
of  the  city.  Almost  within  hailing  distance  were  the 
pleasant  mansions  of  the  Pages  (ancestors  of  Thomas 
Nelson  Page),  Wickhams,  Cockes,  Harrisons,  Mayos, 
and  others  socially  and  politically  famed  in  the 
fashionable  annals  of  the  times,  and  in  the  city  itself 
were  gathered  a  goodly  company  of  social  celebrities. 

14  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

Richmond  has  for  a  century  been  famous  for  its 
schools,  classical  and  denominational,  at  first  taught 
by  English  or  Irish  graduates  of  famous  transatlantic 
schools,  and  later  by  distinguished  masters  of  arts  of 
the  University  of  Virginia. 

Rosalie  Poe  was  adopted  by  the  Mackenzies,  who 
kept  a  well-known  ladies'  school  still  remembered  by 
persons  of  the  older  generation  and  "old  gentlemen 
of  the  black  stock."  Edgar  fell  into  the  hands  of 
kindly  folk  who  taught  him  at  the  age  of  five  or  six 
to  read,  write,  draw,  paint,  and  "spout  verse"  from 
his  adopted  father's  dining-table,  intermingling  the 
recitations  (it  is  asserted,  but  only  on  hearsay  evidence) 
with  toasts  and  potations  to  the  guests.  — It  seems  at 
least  impossible  at  this  date  to  believe  that  a  hard,  stern 
Scotchman  such  as  Mr.  Allan  is  described  to  have 
been,  should  for  the  amusement  of  an  evening,  so  far 
forget  himself  and  his  responsibilities  to  the  poor  little 
waif  as  deliberately  to  ruin  his  constitution  and  his 
morals  with  practices  so  oiFensive,  alike  to  decency  and 
common-sense.  As  an  educated  Scot,  he  must  have 
known  the  history  and  fortunes  of  Burns,  his  Ayr 
shire  fellow-countryman,  and  must  have  noted,  if  he 
had  his  eyes  open  at  all,  the  resemblance  between  the 
temperaments  of  the  poet-ploughman  and  the  players' 

Much  mythical  nonsense  has  been  talked  and  written 
about  the  "  wealth  "  of  Mr.  Allan  when  he  adopted 
Poe,  and  about  the  "  luxury  "  in  which  the  boy  was 
reared  in  the  "palatial  home  of  the  Allans."  The 
fact  is,  Mr.  Allan  was  a  poor  man  when  he  adopted 
Poe  and  lived  upstairs  over  his  store. 

A  correspondent,  in  a  letter  dated  December  17, 
1900,  writes : 


"  Because  the  Allans  for  some  half  century  were 
known  in  Richmond  as  rich  people,  all  the  books 
assume  forsooth  that  Foe's  youth  was  spoiled  by  indul 
gence  of  luxury  and  extravagance  such  as  large  wealth 
may  command.  It  may  have  been,  and  doubtless 
was,  somewhat  spoiled  as  the  adopted  child  of  a  good, 
loving  woman,  childless  herself,  but  wealth  was  an 
unknown  factor  in  that  household  until  the  windfall  of 
the  Gait  legacy  in  1825,  just  before  Poe  left  for  the 
University.  That  the  Allans  in  1811,  when  they 
adopted  Poe,  were  living  upstairs  over  their  store,  in 
which  John  Allan  carried  on  a  small  trade,  is  a  fact 
not  discreditable,  but  inconsistent  with  wealth,  and  a 
great  contrast  with  their  later  condition.  The  fact  of 
this  mode  of  business  and  living  rests  as  yet  on  tradi 
tionary  information,  of  which  I  have  not  yet  found 
record  proof:  but  I  have  no  doubt  of  its  correctness. 

"  The  end  of  the  War  of  I  81  5  reopened  commer 
cial  relations  with  England,  presenting  fine  chances  for 
business  enterprise,  of  which  the  '  Scotch  factor  '  was 
not  slow  to  take  advantage.  That  the  results  were 
unprofitable  and  disastrous  is  evidenced  by  a  deed  of 
assignment  in  1822,  two  years  after  his  return  to 
Richmond.  The  assignment  was  made  on  private 
account  and  as  partner  of  Ellis  and  Allan  of  Richmond, 
and  Allan  and  Ellis  of  London. 

"  The  schedule  includes  household  furniture,  his 
negroes,  etc.,  and  interest  in  a  small  farm  inherited  by 
his  wife :  from  which  it  would  seem  that  he  had  no 
realty  in  his  own  right.  By  consent  of  creditors  Allan 
was  allowed  to  remain  in  possession  of  the  property 
until  the  Trustee  be  required  to  sell  ;  with  agreement 
to  release  if  he  could  settle  with  creditors.  The  Deed 
of  Release  is  not  found,  and  it  is  probable  that  he  was 

16  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

under  stress  of  the  misfortune  until  relieved  by  the 
Gait  legacy.  .  .  .  Old  Mr.  Gait  was  one  of  the 
wealthiest  men  in  the  state,  and  John  Allan's  share  of 
that  wealth  (he  was  Gait's  nephew)  made  him  one 
of  the  richest  men  in  a  town  that  had  comparatively 
few  large  fortunes.  The  fortune  revolutionized  the 
Allan  family  life,  and  gave  them  new  position. 

"The  Gait  Will  was  probated  in  March,  1825, 
and  the  city  records  show  that  within  three  months 
the  legatee,  with  his  newly  acquired  wealth,  bought 
the  house  on  Main  Street,  afterwards  known  as  the 
Allan  House. 

"  Poe's  stay  in  that  house  was  not  more  than  about 
six  months,  before  leaving  for  the  University,  and  for 
short  periods  after  return  therefrom.  —  I  wonder  some 
times  how  much  the  sensibilities  of  the  new- rich  man 
may  have  been  offended  by  satirical  comment  of  the 
bright  youngster  who  —  the  critics  to  the  contrary 
notwithstanding  —  bad  keen  sense  of  the  humorous, 
and  wonderful  talent  in  all  sorts  of  criticism  [witness 
Dr.  Ambler's  account  of  his  satire  upon  the  members 
of  a  debating  society  to  which  he  belonged,  aetat.  1 4  ; 
Ingram,  I.,  30],  I  doubt  not  that  some  such  criticism, 
not  malicious,  was  one  of  the  ingredients  in  their  sub 
sequent  disagreement  and  quarrel. 

"  I  do  not  believe  that  dissipation,  and  a  quarrel 
about  money  matters  were  the  real  cause  of  Poe's  leav 
ing  Richmond  and  his  self-effacement  for  two  years 
in  the  army.  Doubtless,  after  return  from  the  Uni 
versity,  there  was  some  such  quarrel  and  falling  out, 
but  they  do  not  adequately  explain  the  situation  and 
its  results,  for  which  there  are  far  better  —  and  natural 
—  reasons." 

This  then  at  once  disposes  of  the  myth  of  "  mil- 


lionaire  "  Allan, — certainly  not  to  the  discredit  of 
the  canny  Scot  who  was  persuaded  by  his  excellent 
wife  —  a  Miss  Valentine  of  Richmond  —  much  against 
his  will,  it  seems,  to  adopt  the  boy. 

In  June,  1815,  — tne  ^ay  before  the  Battle  of 
Waterloo,  —  Mr.  Allan,  his  wife,  and  his  wife's  sister, 
and  Edgar  sailed  for  England  on  this  business  venture, 
possibly  for  a  short  stay,  but,  as  it  turned  out,  for  an 
entire  lustrum  of  five  years. 

Thus  early  into  Edgar's  most  impressionable  life  a 
slice  of  Old  England,  his  mother-land,  intruded  ;  a  bit 
of  Old-World  romance  beset  his  infant  imagination  at 
its  most  sensitive  period  ;  the  spell  of  Europe,  in  the 
time  of  Waterloo  and  the  great  Napoleon,  wove  itself 
subtly  over  his  fancy,  and  he  doubtless  drank  deep  of 
the  poetic  and  semi-mysterious  atmosphere  of  the  quaint 
English  town  where  his  foster-father  left  him  —  Stoke- 
Newington,  then  a  suburb  of  London. 

We  shall  here  embellish  our  narrative  with  a  pictur 
esque  quotation  from  Woodberry's  Life  (p.  16): 

"  His  residence  there  [Stoke-Newington]  seems  to 
have  left  deep  marks  of  remembrance  upon  his  mind, 
nor  is  it  unlikely  that  the  delight  in  the  ancient,  which 
afterwards  characterized  him,  sprang  partly  from  this 
early  familiarity  with  a  memorable  past  not  yet  van 
ished  from  the  eye  and  hand.  The  main  village, 
which  has  since  been  lost  in  the  overflow  of  the  me 
tropolis,  then  consisted  of  a  long  elm-embowered  street 
of  the  Tudor  time,  following  the  track  of  a  Roman 
road  ;  near  the  old  Green,  by  deeply-shaded  walks, 
that  still  bear  the  names  of  Henry  and  Elizabeth,  stood 
the  houses  of  Anne  Boleyn's  ill-fated  lover,  Earl  Percy, 
and  of  her  daughter's  fortunate  courtier,  the  favorite 
Leicester ;  to  the  west  ran  the  green  lanes,  over  hazy 
VOL.  i.  —  2 

1 8  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

inland  fields,  and  to  the  east  the  more  modern  street  of 
Queen  Anne  and  early  Georgian  architecture,  where 
behind  its  formal  box-bordered  parterre  rose  the  white 
Manor  House  School,  old  and  irregular,  sloping  in  the 
rear  to  the  high  brick  wall,  with  its  ponderous  spiked 
and  iron-studded  gates,  which  enclosed  the  play 

"  In  the  seclusion  of  these  grounds  Poe  spent  his 
school-days  from  his  eighth  [  ?  ]  to  his  thirteenth  year  ; 
there  in  the  long,  narrow,  low  school-room,  oak- 
ceiled,  gothic- windowed,  with  its  irregular,  black, 
jackknife-hewed  desks  and  the  sacred  corner-boxes  for 
master  and  ushers  (in  one  of  them  once  sat  the  mur 
derer,  Eugene  Aram),  he  conned  his  Latin  and  mis 
pronounced  his  French  ;  in  the  bed-room  beyond  the 
many  tortuous  passages  and  perplexing  little  stairways, 
he  first  felt  the  wakening  of  the  conscience,  whose  self- 
echoing  whispers  he  afterwards  heightened  into  the 
voice  and  ghostly  terror  of  the  Spanish  Hombre 
Embozado;  in  that  wide,  gravelled,  treeless,  and  bench- 
less  playground  he  trained  his  muscles  in  the  sports, 
and  when  on  Saturday  afternoon  the  mighty  gate 
swung  open  he  and  his  mates  filed  out  to  walk  beneath 
the  gigantic  and  gnarled  trees  amid  which  once  lived 
Shakespeare's  friend  Essex,  or  to  gaze  with  a  boy's 
eyes  of  wonder  at  the  thick  walls,  deep  windows 
and  doors,  massive  with  locks  and  bars,  behind  which 
Robinson  Crusoe  was  written  ;  and  on  Sunday,  after 
the  holiday  ramble,  he  would  obey  the  summons  of 
the  hollow-toned  church-bell,  sounding  from  its  fretted 

In  this  Old- World  town,  therefore,  with  its  mean 
dering  lanes  and  elm-embowered  pleasaunces,  Edgar 
Poe  was  placed  by  the  Allans,  and  there  he  was  for 


From  a  silhouette. 


the  first  time  regularly  trained  in  English,  Latin, 
mathematics,  and  French.  All  about  him  were 
associations  of  a  venerable  antiquity  ;  boys  of  genius 
like  himself  though  older — Byron,  Shelley,  Keats  — 
were  beginning  in  these  memorable  five  or  six  years  to 
utter  the  first  musical  pipings  of  the  most  musically 
gifted  of  English  poets,  all  of  them  living  then  at  no 
great  distance  from  Stoke-Newington  ;  England  was  in 
the  flush  and  exultation  of  the  Waterloo  period,  after 
the  shame  and  humiliation  of  the  Battle  of  New  Orleans 
fought  just  six  months  before.  The  boy  could  not 
but  have  been  impressed  by  the  stir  and  glory  of  the 
time.  "^^ 

Dr.  Bransby,  his  teacher,  and  the  ancient  Manor 
House  School,  imbedded  themselves  so  deeply  in  his 
ductile  memory  that  they  were  enshrined  later  in  his 
*' William  Wilson,"  which  in  one  of  his  letters  he 
calls  his  best  story.  The  broad,  benignant  face  of 
the  doctor  smiled  complacently  out  of  a  huge  wig  that 
made  him  look  like  a  lord  chancellor  ;  his  ready  eru 
dition  revelled  in  quotations  from  Horace  and  Shak- 
spere  (spoken  of  by  Poe  with  so  deep  a  reverence  in 
the  Letter  prefixed  to  the  1831  edition  of  his  Poems), 
and  he  remembered  his  little  American  pupil  well 
enough  to  speak  in  after  years  kindly  of  his  aptitude 
while  criticising  his  over-abundant  pocket-money. 

Poe's  English  education,  thus  so  favorably  begun  In 
England  under  a  learned  ecclesiastic,  never  ceased  to 
be  conducted  by  Englishmen  or  Irishmen,  for  after  he 
returned  with  the  Allans  to  Richmond  in  1820,  he 
was  successively  coached  by  Messrs.  Clarke  and  Burke 
at  their  classical  academies,  and  when  he  went  to  the 
University  of  Virginia  in  1826,  all  the  professors  with 
two  exceptions  were  accomplished  Englishmen.  Even 

20  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

as  a  boy  Poe  was  placed  by  Col.  J.  T.  L.  Preston  (a 
friend  of  the  present  writer)  on  a  level  with  "Nat  " 
Howard,  afterwards  known  as  one  of  the  most  dis 
tinguished  Latinists  in  the  South,  and  a  school-boy 
contemporary,  at  Clarke's,  of  Poe. 

"  To  dream,'*  cries  Poe  in  an  autobiographic  pas 
sage  in  "The  Assignation,"  —  "  to  dream  has  been 
the  business  of  my  life.  I  have  therefore  framed  for 
myself  as  you  see,  a  bower  of  dreams.'* 

This  "bower  of  dreams"  doubtless  began  its  aerial 
architecture  among  the  immemorial  elms,  the  misty 
fragrances  and  shadows,  the  poetic  reveries,  the  trance- 
like  tranquillities  of  this  time  when  the  English  school 
boy,  ten  or  twelve  years  old,  had  already  begun  to 
scribble  the  little  volume  which  he  handed  to  Mr. 
Allan,  and  to  be  haunted  by  rhythmic  fancies  and 
tantalizing  poetic  thirsts. 

Nor  will  the  conscientious  biographer  overlook  what 
must  have  been  the  curious  psychological  effects  of  the 
sea  on  Poe's  sensitive  temperament  during  the  long- 
drawn-out  ocean  voyages  of  eighty  years  ago,  when  a 
month  was  a  quick  passage  across  the  gray  Atlantic, 
and  the  precocious  child,  first  at  six,  then  at  twelve  or 
thirteen,  spent  a  month  or  two  of  existence  amid  the 
midsummer  splendors  of  the  June  seas.  No  one  has 
depicted  wind  in  all  its  myriad  and  magic  shapes  and 
forms  and  sensations,  or  water  in  its  infinite  diversities 
of  color  and  motion,  more  graphically  than  the  author 
of  "Arthur  Gordon  Pym,"  "A  MS.  found  in  a 
Bottle,"  and  "The  Fall  of  the  House  of  Usher," 
whether  the  one  is  gently  agitating  the  whispering  cur 
tains  of  the  Lady  Rowena's  bed-chamber  or  the  other 
is  swallowing  in  its  mystic  embrace  the  crumbling 
battlements  of  the  last  of  the  Ushers.  The  Eolian 


petulance  of  the  poet's  fancy,  the  Shelleyan  versatility 
of  phrase  and  rhythm  with  which  he  portrays  wind 
and  water,  storm  and  calm,  tarn  and  lake,  interpreting 
the  thousand-fold  mysteries  of  the  air  and  unlocking 
thrills  of  suggestion  and  horror  from  its  chambered 
recesses,  must  all  at  least  have  started  to  germinate  in 
these  lengthened  boyish  ocean  travels.  Both  times  he 
crossed  the  Atlantic  in  June  when  the  glory  of  the 
stars  would  be  revealed  in  all  their  midsummer  beauty, 
and  when  "  Astarte's  bcdiamonded  crescent"  and  the 
starry  hieroglyphs  of  heaven  would  stain  themselves 
on  the  heavens  in  pigments  of  fire,  ever  to  be  treasured 
up  in  "Al  Aaraaf"  and  many  another  star-poem  or 
star  allusion.  The  "  MS.  found  in  a  Bottle"  is  a 
water-poem  from  beginning  to  end,  written  at  an 
early  age  when  the  youth  was  vividly  reminiscent  of 
actual  experience.  The  zephyrlike  gossamer  women 
of  the  Tales  are  incarnations  of  whispering  winds  ; 
their  movements  are  the  breezy  undulations  of  air 
travelling  over  bending  grain  ;  their  melodious  voices 
are  the  lyrics  of  the  wind  articulating  themselves  in 
flutelike  throats  ;  and  full  of  passion  and  pregnancy  of 
meaning  are  the  musical  inflections  that  exhale  from 
their  lips  as  perfumes  exhale  from  the  chalices  of 

In  1820  we  find  the  travellers  again  at  home  in 
their  beloved  Virginia,  beloved  by  Poe  for  many 
reasons,  and  in  later  days  because  it  bore  the  name 
of  his  idolized  wife. 

Col.  Thomas  Mann  Randolph,  son-in-law  of  the 
illustrious  Jefferson,  was  Governor  of  Virginia  when 
the  family  returned  home  ;  a  wave  of  prosperity  had 
passed  over  the  country  since  the  Battle  of  New 
Orleans  and  the  Battle  of  Waterloo ;  Napoleon  was 


dying  at  St.  Helena ;  and  the  Bourbon  Restoration 
had  sent  a  thrill  of  joy  through  aristocratic  France  : 
the  world  seemed  to  rest.  The  firm  of  Ellis  and 
Allan,  dealing  in  the  famous  "Virginia  leaf"  now 
rejoicing  in  a  world-wide  reputation,  was  beginning  to 
look  up,  though  there  is  no  evidence  for  the  assertion 
that  it  had  acquired  great  fortune  at  this  time  ;  pros 
perous  it  had  been,  as  we  see  from  the  following 
sketch  of  Poe's  boyhood  furnished  the  writer  by  the 
late  Col.  T.  H.  Ellis,  son  of  the  senior  member  of  the 
firm.1  This  final  statement  of  Colonel  Ellis  will  cor 
rect  several  mistakes  of  the  biographies,  which  assert 
that  Mr.  Allan  went  abroad  to  settle  an  estate,  etc. 
It  gives  also  an  authentic  reference  to  the  place  and 
time  of  David  Poe's  death:  "  her  husband  had  died 
not  long  before,  in  Norfolk  ;  "  and  shows  that  the 
names  "  Edgar  Allan  "  and  ft  Rose  Mackenzie  "  were 
the  baptismal  names  of  the  two  younger  children. 

"  On  the  8th  of  December,  1811,  Mrs.  Poe,  of 
English  birth,  one  of  the  actresses  of  the  company 
then  playing  on  the  Richmond  boards,  died  in  Rich 
mond,  leaving  three  children.  Her  husband  had  died 
not  long  before,  in  Norfolk.  She  had  made  herself  a 
favorite  with  those  who  were  in  the  habit  of  attending 
the  theatre,  which  was  then  the  fashionable  entertain 
ment  with  educated  people,  both  in  this  country  and 
England.  There  was  general  sympathy  for  the  little 
orphans  left  by  her.  The  eldest  of  the  three,  William 
Henry,  was  adopted  by  his  grandfather,  Mr.  Poe,  of 
Baltimore,  a  gentleman  of  social  position  there,  and  of 
family  pride,  who  had  been  much  offended  by  his  son's 

1  Here  reprinted  by  the  courtesy  of  the  editor  of  the  New 
York  Independent,  in  which  the  account  first  appeared,  Septem 
ber,  1900. 


marriage  with  an  actress.  This  child  died  young,  but 
lived  long  enough  to  develop  rare  promise.  The 
second  child,  born  January  19,  1809,  was  adopted  by 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  John  Allan,  of  Richmond  ;  the  young 
est,  a  daughter,  was  adopted  by  Mr.  and  Mrs.  William 
Mackenzie,  also  of  Richmond  ;  and  the  names  Edgar 
Allan  and  Rose  Mackenzie  were  given  in  baptism  by 
the  Rev.  John  Buchanan,  D.D.,  at  the  residence  of 
Mr.  John  Richard,  who  was  a  friend  of  all  the  parties 

"  The  death  of  Mrs.  Poe  occurred  eighteen  days 
before  the  burning  of  the  Richmond  Theatre,  and  it 
is  not  improbable  that  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Allan  would 
have  been  present  on  that  occasion  but  for  the  circum 
stance  that  they  were  spending  the  Christmas  holidays 
at  Mr.  Boiler  Cocke's,  at  Turkey  Island,  with  Edgar. 
Mr.  Allan  and  my  father  were  partners  in  business. 
They  had  been  raised  together  as  clerks  in  the  store 
of  Mr.  William  Gait,  who  was  the  most  successful 
merchant  of  his  day  in  Virginia.  The  business  of 
Ellis  and  Allan,  beginning  in  1 800,  so  prospered  that 
after  the  war  of  1812— 15  they  determined  to  establish 
a  branch  house  in  London,  for  which  purpose  Mr. 
Allan  went  abroad  and  remained  in  England  five 
years.  He  was  accompanied  by  his  wife  (a  cousin 
of  my  mother),  by  his  sister-in-law,  Miss  Anne  M. 
Valentine,  and  by  his  adopted  son.  On  their  return, 
his  own  house  having  been  leased,  so  that  he  could 
not  get  possession  of  it,  Mr.  Allan  and  his  family  be 
came  members  of  my  father's  family,  and  lived  with 
us,  I  suppose,  nearly  a  year.  It  was  then  and  there 
that  my  recollections  of  Edgar  A.  Poe  began. 

"  He  was  very  beautiful,  yet  brave  and  manly  for 
one  so  young.  No  boy  ever  had  a  greater  influence 

24  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

over  me  than  he  had.  He  was,  indeed,  a  leader 
among  his  playmates ;  but  my  admiration  for  him 
scarcely  knew  bounds.  The  consequence  was,  he  led 
me  to  do  many  a  forbidden  thing,  for  which  I  was 
duly  punished.  The  only  whipping  I  ever  knew  Mr. 
Allan  to  give  him  was  for  carrying  me  into  the  fields 
and  woods  beyond  *  Belvidere,'  adjacent  to  what  is 
now  Hollywood  Cemetery,  one  Saturday,  and  keep 
ing  me  there  all  day  and  until  after  dark,  without  any 
body  at  home  knowing  where  we  were  ;  and  for 
shooting  a  lot  of  domestic  fowls,  belonging  to  the 
proprietor  of  '  Belvidere,'  who  was  at  that  time,  I 
think,  Judge  Bushrod  Washington.  He  taught  me 
to  shoot,  to  swim,  to  skate,  to  play  bandy;  and  I 
ought  to  mention  that  he  once  saved  me  from  drown 
ing —  for  having  thrown  me  into  the  falls  headlong, 
that  I  might  f  strike  out '  for  myself,  he  presently 
found  it  necessary  to  come  to  my  help  or  it  would 
have  been  too  late  !  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Allan,  having  no 
children  of  their  own,  lavished  upon  him  their  whole 
affection  ;  he  was  sent  to  the  best  schools,  he  was 
taught  every  accomplishment  that  a  boy  could  acquire, 
he  was  trained  to  all  the  habits  of  the  most  polished 
society.  There  was  not  a  brighter,  more  graceful  or 
more  attractive  boy  in  the  city  than  Edgar  Allan  Poe. 
Talent  for  declamation  was  one  of  his  gifts.  I  well 
remember  a  public  exhibition  at  the  close  of  a  course 
of  instruction  in  elocution  which  he  had  attended, 
and  my  delight  when,  in  the  presence  of  a  large  and 
distinguished  company,  he  bore  off  the  prize  in  com 
petition  with  Channing  Moore,  Gary  Wickham,  An 
drew  Johnston,  Nat  Howard,  and  others  who  were 
regarded  as  among  the  most  promising  of  the  Rich 
mond  boys. 


"  Not  content  with  an  adopted  son,  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Allan  desired  to  adopt  a  daughter  also,  and  were 
constantly  begging  for  my  sister,  now  Mrs.  Beverley 
Tucker.  The  intimacy  between  the  two  families  — 
my  father's  and  Mr.  Allan's  —  was  naturally  very 
close  ;  on  one  side  —  I  mean  the  side  of  the  Ellis 
boys  and  girls  —  our  largest  Christmas  gifts,  birthday 
presents,  etc.,  came  from  the  Allans.  Edgar  was 
once  guilty  of  a  piece  of  meanness  for  which  I  have 
not  forgiven  him  to  this  day.  With  our  father  and 
mother  we  had  gone  down  to  spend  Christmas  even 
ing  with  the  Allans.  Among  the  toys  provided  for 
our  entertainment  was  a  snake  —  a  long,  slim,  shiny 
thing  made  in  sections,  which  were  fastened  to  each 
other  by  wires,  and  a  boy,  by  taking  hold  of  the  tail 
and  holding  it  out  from  his  body,  could  make  it 
wriggle  and  dart  about  in  the  most  lifelike  manner. 
This  hideous  imitation  of  a  serpent  Edgar  took  in  his 
hand,  and  kept  poking  it  at  my  sister  Jane  until  it  almost 
ran  her  crazy. 

"  Of  course  I  knew  about  his  swim  of  seven  miles 
in  James  River  down  to  Warwick,  accompanied  by 
Robert  G.  Cabell,  Robert  C.  Stanard,  and  perhaps 
two  or  three  other  schoolboys,  with  Mr.  William 
Burke,  their  schoolmaster,  who  went  along  in  a  row- 
boat  to  rescue  him  in  case  his  strength  should  fail.  I 
knew  also  of  his  Thespian  performances,  when  he  and 
William  F.  Ritchie  and  James  Greenhow  and  Creed 
Thomas  and  Richard  Cary  Ambler  and  other  school 
mates  appeared  in  dramatic  character  under  a  tent 
erected  on  a  vacant  lot  one  or  two  squares  beyond 
what  is  now  St.  James'  Church  on  Fifth  Street  — 
admittance  fee,  one  cent  !  But  never  was  I  prouder 
of  him  than  when,  dressed  in  the  uniform  of  the 


'Junior  Morgan  Riflemen  '  (a  volunteer  company 
composed  of  boys,  and  which  General  Lafayette,  in 
his  memorable  visit  to  Richmond,  selected  as  his 
bodyguard),  he  walked  up  and  down  in  front  of  the 
marquee  erected  on  the  Capitol  Square,  under  which 
the  old  general  held  a  grand  reception  in  October, 

"  One  evening  there  was  a  meeting  of  the  Gentle 
men's  Whist  Club  at  my  father's  house.  The 
members  and  a  few  invited  guests  had  assembled  and 
were  seated  at  whist  tables  set  out  all  over  the  large 
parlor,  and  things  were  as  quiet  as  they  were  on  a 
certain  '  night  before  Christmas,'  of  which  we  have 
read,  when  a  ghost  appeared  !  The  ghost,  no  doubt, 
expected  and  intended  to  frighten  the  whole  body  of 
whist  players,  who  were  in  truth  stirred  to  a  com 
motion.  General  Winfield  Scott,  one  of  the  invited 
guests,  with  the  resolution  and  promptness  of  an  old 
soldier,  sprang  forward  as  if  he  was  leading  a  charge 
in  Lundy's  Lane.  Dr.  Philip  Thornton,  of  Rappa- 
hannock,  another  guest,  was,  however,  nearer  to  the 
door  and  quicker  than  he.  Presently  the  ghost,  find 
ing  himself  closely  pressed,  began  to  retreat,  backing 
around  the  room,  yet  keeping  his  face  to  the  foe,  and 
as  the  Doctor  was  reaching  out  and  trying  to  seize  the 
ghost's  nose  with  the  view  to  twitch  it  off,  the  ghost 
was  f  larruping  '  him  over  the  shoulder  with  the  long 
cane  which  he  carried  in  one  hand,  while  with  the 
other  hand  he  was  struggling  to  keep  from  being  tripped 
by  the  sheet  which  enveloped  his  body.  When  finally 
forced  to  surrender  and  the  mask  was  taken  from  his 
face,  Edgar  laughed  as  heartily  as  ever  a  ghost  did 

"In.  February,  1826,  Poe  was  entered  as  a  student 


at  the  University  of  Virginia.  There  began  that 
course  of  conduct  which,  step  by  step,  led  to  the 
wretchedness  of  the  after  part  of  his  life.  Sad,  inex 
pressibly  sad,  and  pathetic  it  was,  indeed." 

This  sketch  gives  us  a  vivid  account  of  the  spirited, 
handsome,  gifted  boy  as  he  appeared  seventy-five  years 
ago  to  one  of  his  intimate  friends  and  playmates,  the 
son  of  his  foster-father's  partner,  even  then  full  of 
precocious  elocutionary  and  athletic  talents,  spoiled, 
wayward,  devoted  to  practical  jokes  and  open-air 
sports,  a  leader  in  school,  accomplished  in  all  the 
pastimes  of  the  day,  —  skating,  swimming  like  a  Lean- 
der  or  a  Byron,  leaping,  running,  acting  in  the  Thes 
pian  performances,  drilling  in  the  military  company, 
and  —  getting  a  too-rare  chastisement  for  his  capricious 
and  thoughtless  conduct. 

Another  interesting  glimpse  of  Poe  at  this  time  is 
afforded  by  the  following  account  sent  the  writer  by 
Dr.  Hugh  Wythe  Davis  of  Richmond,  Virginia, 
whose  uncle,  Dr.  Creed  Thomas,  was  Poe's  desk- 
f  mate  at  Burke's  School.  Dr.  Thomas  was  very  inti 
mate  with  Poe  in  after  years  also,  and  died  only  a  few 
months  ago,  aged  eighty-seven  : 

"Dr.  Thomas  was  educated  at  Burke's  School  in 
Richmond,  Virginia,  and  at  the  University  of  Medi 
cine  of  Maryland.  At  the  first-named  institution, 
which  stood  near  the  present  site  of  Ford's  Hotel,  he 
was  a  deskmate  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe  during  the  years 
1823,  1824,  and  1825,  and  a  schoolfellow  of  the 
Stanards,  Cabells,  Seldens.  Selden  told  somebody 
that  Poe  was  a  liar  or  a  rascal.  The  embryo  poet 
heard  of  it,  and  soon  the  boys  were  engaged  in  a  fight. 
Selden  was  heavier  than  Poe  whom  he  pommelled 
vigorously  for  some  time.  The  delicate  boy  appeared 

28  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

to  submit  with  little  resistance.  Finally  Poe  turned 
the  tables  on  Selden,  and  much  to  the  surprise  of  the 
spectators,  administered  a  sound  whipping.  When 
asked  why  he  permitted  Selden  to  pommel  his  head 
so  long,  Poe  replied  that  he  was  waiting  for  his  ad 
versary  to  get  out  of  breath  before  showing  him  a  few 
things  in  the  art  of  righting. 

"  Poe  was  a  quiet,  peaceful  youngster,  and  seldom 
got  into  a  difficulty  with  his  schoolmates.  He  was  as 
plucky  as  any  boy  at  school,  however,  and  never  per 
mitted  himself  to  be  imposed  upon.  When  it  came 
to  a  question  of  looking  after  his  individual  rights, 
however,  the  young  classic  asserted  himself.  He  was 
not  at  all  popular  with  his  schoolmates,  being  too  retir 
ing  in  disposition  and  singularly  unsociable  in  manner. 
The  only  two  boys  he  was  intimate  with  were  Monroe 
Stanard,  who  afterwards  became  Judge  Stanard,  and 
Robert  G.  Cabell.  He  was  quite  fond  of  both  of 
them,  and  the  three  boys  were  continually  in  each 
other's  company.  It  was  a  noticeable  fact  that  hel 
never  asked  any  of  his  schoolmates  to  go  home  w\th\ 
him  after  school.  Other  boys  would  frequently  spend 
the  night  or  take  dinner  with  each  other  at  their 
homes,  but  Poe  was  seldom  known  to  enter  into  this 
social  intercourse.  After  he  left  the  play-grounds  at 
school  that  was  an  end  of  his  sociability  until  the  next 
day.  Dr.  Thomas  was  a  member  with  Poe,  Beverley 
Anderson,  and  William  F.  Ritchie,  of  the  Thespian 
Society,  that  had  its  headquarters  in  the  old  wooden 
building  which  stood  on  the  northeast  corner  of  Sixth 
and  Marshall  Streets.  Poe  was  a  member  of  this 
society,  contrary  to  the  wishes  of  Mr.  Allan.  He 
had  undoubted  talent  in  this  direction.  The  audience 
usually  numbered  about  forty  or  fifty.  A  small  admis- 


sion  fee  was  charged,  and  this  was  divided  between 
the  actors,  who  used  it  as  pin  money.  A  singular 
fact,  Dr.  Thomas  used  to  say,  was  that  Poe  never  got 
a  whipping  at  school.  He  remembered  that  the  other 
boys  used  to  come  in  for  a  flogging  quite  frequently, 
and  that  he  got  his  share.  Mr.  Burke  believed  in  the 
moral  power  of  the  birch.  He  accepted  the  theory, 
'  Spare  the  rod  and  spoil  the  child,'  as  a  matter  of 
course,  and  the  consequence  was  that  whippings  were 
so  frequent  that  they  created  no  sensation  among  the 
scholars  who  witnessed  them."  l 

It  is  thus  seen  to  be  untrue  that  "  no  one  knew 
him  ;  "  on  the  contrary,  the  boy  Poe  had  many  de 
voted  friends  :  Ellis,  Thomas,  Stanard,  and  Cabell 
are  distinctly  mentioned,  or  mention  themselves, 
among  them  ;  and  later,  when  he  wertt  to  the  Univer 
sity,  these  friends  increased  in  number  and  cordiality : 
Tucker,  Burwell,  Beale,  Slaughter,  Wertenbaker, 
Willis,  Ambler,  all  testified  to  their  friendship,  many 
of  them  in  their  written  recollections.  The  "  mar 
vellous  boy  that  perished  in  his  pride  "  was  not 
prouder  ;  Leopardi,  agonized  by  humiliating  deformity, 
could  not  at  times  hold  more  aloof;  the  shrinking  and 
shadowy  Tennyson,  wandering  over  his  lawns,  did 
not  recoil  at  times  with  more  physical  horror  from 
contact  with  the  clamorous  world  ;  but  there  is  noth 
ing  in  Poe's  early  years  to  justify  the  assertion  that  he 
passed  them  in  supreme  loneliness.2 

1  Obituary  Notice  of  Dr.  Creed  Thomas,  Richmond  Dispatch, 
Feb.  24,  1899. 

2  See  Mrs.  Whitman's  "Edgar  Poe  and  his  Critics,"   Preface 
to  the  First  Edition,  1860,  where  a  similar  statement  is  warmly 
combated.      Cf.  the  utterances  of  A.  Lang,  N.    T.    Independent, 
Nov.  23,  1899,  who  doubts  whether  Poe  was  even  a  "  gentleman." 

30  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

His  feeling  of  unmeasured  superiority  to  his  school 
mates  in  book-learning  and  athletic  accomplishments  ; 
his  boyish  gift  of  rhyming  readily  ;  the  applause  of  his 
teachers  and  playmates  at  the  performances  of  the 
infant  prodigy;  and  the  undisguised  admiration  of  the 
home-circle  for  his  dramatic  and  poetic  powers,  un 
doubtedly  enhanced  an  innate  self-consciousness  which 
never  left  Poe  to  his  latest  breath  ;  but  it  is  baseless^ 
useless,  and  cruel  to  affirm  that  he  was  "the  man  in 
the  crowd  "  pursued  even  as  a  child  by  relentless  in-^\ 
stincts  of  solitariness.  / 

There  are  two  spots  in  this  normal  childhood  that 
loom  up  with  shining  distinctness  :  the  episode  with 
Mrs.  Jane  Stith  Stanard,  and  his  first  love. 

We  quote  a  passage  from  Mrs.  Whitman's  "Ed 
gar  Poe  and  his  Critics,"  pp.  48—55,  in  which  this 
charming  biographer  and  defender  of  the  poet  gives  us 
a  glimpse  of  the  boy  at  fourteen  in  the  throes  of  a  first 
affection  : 

"  While  at  the  academy  in  Richmond,  he  one  day 
accompanied  a  schoolmate  to  his  home,  where  he  saw 
for  the  first  time  Mrs.  H.  [elen]  S.panard],1  the 
mother  of  his  young  friend.  This  lady,  on  entering 
the  room,  took  his  hand  and  spoke  some  gentle  and 
gracious  words  of  welcome,  which  so  penetrated  the 
sensitive  heart  of  the  orphan  boy  as  to  deprive  him  of 
the  power  of  speech,  and  for  a  time  almost  of  con 
sciousness  itself.  He  returned  home  in  a  dream,  with 
but  one  thought,  one  hope  in  life,  —  to  hear  again  the 
sweet  and  gracious  words  that  had  made  the  desolate 
world  so  beautiful  to  him,  and  filled  his  lonely  heart 
with  the  oppression  of  a  new  joy.  This  lady  after- 

1  Really,  Mrs.  Jane  Stith  Stanard  :  Poe  disliked  the  name  Jane, 
and  substituted  Helen  for  it. 


wards  became  the  confidante  of  all  his  boyish  sorrows, 
and  hers  was  the  one  redeeming  influence  that  saved 
and  guided  him  in  the  earlier  days  of  his  turbulent  and 
passionate  youth." 

When  she  died  of  mental  alienation  in  1824,  it  is 
related  that  the  boy-poet  would  not  give  her  up,  but 
haunted  her  grave  in  the  April  and  autumnal  nights 
with  the  passionate  feeling  of  undying  companionship, 
even  with  the  dead,  which  afterwards  ran  like  a  line 
of  fire  through  his  romances  of  death,  trance,  and  sen 
tience  after  death. 

This  abiding  element  of  Foe's  life,  his  intimacy  with 
Mrs.  Stanard,  and  her  sorrowful  death,  furnished  the 
theme  for  that  exquisite  woman-element  in  his  poems 
which  beads  itself  into  a  string  of  pearls  and  runs  now 
in  shadowy  and  beautiful  shapes  of  dreamlike  Melusines 
through  his  Tales,  now  coins  itself  into  cameo-like 
stanzas,  "  To  Helen,"  "  Lenore,"  "  Annabel  Lee  " 
or  the  lost  "  Ulalume,"  in  stanzas  as  imperishable  in 
beauty  as  those  which  rise  wraithlike  from  the  passion 
and  spume  of  the  early  life  of  Goethe.  What  would 
these  two  lives  indeed  —  Goethe's  and  Poe's  —  be 
without  their  rich  idealizations  of  woman  snatched 
from  Dreamland,  but  hovering  in  the  mid-air  of  actual 
experience  ! 

"  It  was  the  image  of  this  lady  "  (continues  Mrs. 
Whitman),  "  long  and  tenderly  and  sorrowfully  cher 
ished,  that  suggested  the  stanzas  '  To  Helen,'  pub 
lished  among  the  poems  written  in  his  youth,  which 
Russell  Lowell  says  have  in  them  a  grace  and  symme 
try  of  outline  such  as  few  poets  ever  attain,  and 
which  are  valuable  as  displaying  '  what  can  only 
be  expressed  by  the  contradictory  phrase  of  innate 
experience.*  ' 


4<  Helen,  thy  beauty  is  to  me 

Like  those  Nicaean  barks  of  yore 
That  gently  o'er  a  perfumed  sea 

The  weary,  wayworn  wanderer  bore 
To  his  own  native  shore." 

"In  a  letter  now  before  us  "  (continues  the  lady), 
"  written  within  a  twelvemonth  of  his  death,  Edgar 
Poe  speaks  of  the  love  which  inspired  these  verses  as 
the  '  one,  idolatrous,  and  purely  ideal  love  of  his  pas 
sionate  boyhood/  In  one  of  the  numbers  of  '  Rus 
sell's  Magazine,'  there  is  a  transcript  of  the  first 
published  version  of  the  exquisite  poem  entitled  '  Le- 
nore,'  commencing  — 

"  *  Ah  !  broken  is  the  golden  bowl  !  the  spirit  flown  forever. 
Let  the  bell  toll  :  a  saintly  soul  floats  on  the  Stygian  River.' 

"It  is  remarkable,  that,  in  this  earlier  version,  in 
stead  of  LENORE,  we  have  the  name  of  HELEN.  The 
lines  were  afterwards  greatly  altered,  and  improved  in 
structure  and  expression  ;  and  the  name  of  Lenore  was 
introduced,  apparently  for  its  adaptation  to  rhythmical 

With  Sarah  Elmira  Royster,  a  neighbor  of  Mr. 
Allan's,  came  a  real  love-affair.  This  young  lady 
was  a  year  or  two  younger  than  the  mature  Poe 
(aged  sixteen  or  so)  and  met  his  advances  in  an 
amiable  and  appreciative  spirit.  "  He  was  a  gentle 
man  "  (she  writes)  "in  every  sense  of  the  word. 
He  was  one  of  the  most  fascinating  and  refined  men  I 
ever  knew.  I  never  saw  him  under  the  influence  of 
wine.  I  admired  him  more  than  any  man  I  ever 

In    an    earlier    letter    the    same  lady  continues  : 1 

1  Appleton's  Journal,  May,  1878. 


"  Edgar  was  a  beautiful  boy  ;  he  was  not  very  talk 
ative,  and  his  general  manner  was  sad,  but  when  he 
did  talk  his  conversation  was  very  pleasant.  He  was 
devoted  to  the  first  Mrs.  Allan,  and  she  to  him.  Of 
his  own  parents  he  never  spoke.  I  have  seen  his 
brother  Henry,  who  was  in  the  navy.  He  had  very 
few  associates,  but  he  was  very  intimate  with  Ebenezer 
Berling,  a  widow's  son,  of  about  the  same  age  as  him 
self.  Berling  was  an  interesting,  intelligent  young 
man,  but  somewhat  inclined  to  dissipation.  They  used 
to  visit  our  house  together  very  frequently. 

"  Edgar  was  warm  and  zealous  in  any  cause  he  was 
interested  in,  being  enthusiastic  and  impulsive.  He 
had  strong  prejudices,  and  hated  everything  coarse  and 
unrefined.  I  can  still  remember  him  saying  to  me, 
when  an  acquaintance  made  an  unladylike  remark,  « I 
am  surprised  you  should  associate  with  anyone  who 
could  make  such  a  remark  !  ' 

' '  He  was  very  generous.  He  drew  beautifully  and 
drew  a  pencil  likeness  of  me  in  a  few  minutes.  He 
was  passionately  fond  of  music.  ...  It  distresses  me 
greatly  when  I  see  anything  scurrilous  written  about 
him.  Do  not  believe  a  tenth  part  of  what  is  said.  It 
is  chiefly  produced  by  jealousy  and  envy.  T  have  the 
greatest  respect  for  his  memory.  Our  acquaintance 
was  kept  up  until  he  left  to  go  to  the  University,  and 
during  the  time  he  was  at  the  University  he  wrote  to 
me  frequently.  But  my  father  intercepted  the  letters 
because  we  were  too  young  —  for  no  other  reason.  I 
was  between  fifteen  and  sixteen  when  we  were  en 
gaged.  I  was  not  aware  that  he  had  written  to  me 
from  the  University  until  after  I  was  married,  when  1 
was  seventeen,  to  Mr.  Shelton." 

Thus  the  Ideal  and  the  Real  jostle  each  other  in 
VOL.  i.  —  3 

34  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

actual  life  :  "the  one  like  the  shield  of  bronze  whose 
color  was  so  long  contested  by  the  knights  of  fable  ;  " 
the  other,  "presenting  at  least  a  silver  lining."1 

The  year  1825  seems  to  have  been  spent  by  Poe 
in  busy  preparation,  under  private  tutors,  for  entrance 
into  the  University  of  Virginia.  The  University, 
planned  and  founded  by  Jefferson,  had  opened  the 
year  before  and  had  attracted  great  attention  all  over 
the  country.  Its  magnificent  buildings,  its  corps  of 
accomplished  European  professors,  drawn  mostly  from 
England,  its  novel  system  of  elective  studies,  and  its 
hitherto  unknown  and  untried  system  of  democratic 
self-government  by  the  students  themselves,  had  inter 
ested  educators  everywhere,  and  many  eyes  were 
turned  curiously  on  Jefferson's  experiment. 

1  Mrs.  S.  H.  Whitman,  "  Edgar  Poe  and  his  Critics,"  p.  69. 





ALBEMARLE  County,  in  which  the  University  of  Vir 
ginia  is  situated,  is  one  of  the  finest  and  most  fruitful 
counties  in  the  Old  Dominion.  Originally  near  the 
centre  of  Virginia  before  it  was  dismembered,  it  seemed 
to  President  Jefferson  an  ideal  spot  for  the  erection  of 
the  great  institution  which  he  had  been  planning  since 
1779  and  which,  overcoming  innumerable  obstacles, 
he  succeeded  in  establishing  and  opening  in  March, 
1825.  Around  this  lovely  land,  through  which  trails 
for  more  than  one  hundred  miles  the  delightful  green 
ery  of  the  South-West  Mountains,  gather  all  the 
confluent  lines  of  grace  that  characterize  a  gently 
mountainous  country  where,  exhausted  with  uplifting 
giant  Alleghanies,  the  poetic  mountain  sprites  exercise 
their  ingenuity  in  carving  out  graceful  vales,  long  un 
dulating  slopes,  the  winding  labyrinths  of  silver  rivers, 
and  wooded  dells  thick  with  Vallombrosan  shades. 

1  Unpublished  MSS.  Archives  of  the  University  of  Virginia. 
Bound  Catalogues  of  the  University  of  Virginia,  1825—44. 

Schele  de  Vere  Catalogue  of  Students  of  the  University  of 
Virginia,  1825-75. 

Files  of  the  University  of  Virginia  Magazine,  1856—57,  1900. 

H.    B.  Adams'  "Jefferson  and  the  University  of  Virginia." 

36  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

Albemarle  might  indeed,  apart  from  its  musical  name, 
be  called  the  "picture"  county  of  Virginia,  and  it 
was  the  spirit  of  the  poet  who  wrote  our  great  epic  of 
the  Declaration  of  Independence  that  chose  this  favored 
spot  as  the  birthplace,  cradle,  and  home  of  his  Uni 
versity.  From  his  own  Parnassus  of  Monticello,  three 
miles  away,  he  looked  down  and  beheld  the  spacious 
vale  wherein  the  cunning  magic  of  his  persuasive  tongue 
had  evoked  a  scene  of  Grecian  beauty  that  breathed 
the  spirit  of  Old  World  enchantment.  Obdurate 
legislatures  had  melted  before  the  "  old  man  eloquent  " 
as  he  pleaded  for  his  University  ;  avaricious  pockets 
emptied  their  contents  into  his  Educational  Fund  as  he 
spoke  of  the  boundless  advantages  of  the  new  institu 
tion  ;  distinguished  foreign  savants  listened  with  atten 
tion  as  his  marvellous  pen  discoursed  in  countless  letters 
(30,000  of  Jefferson's  letters  are  said  to  be  in  exist 
ence  !)  of  his  plans  and  projects  for  an  Oxford,  a 
Cambridge  or  a  Gottingen  in  the  New  World. 

The  result  was  the  beautiful  scene  that  lay  below 
Monticello,  the  exquisitely  situated  mountain-crest 
towering  eight  hundred  feet  in  the  air  where  "  The 
Father  of  the  University  of  Virginia  "  had  built  him 
self  an  eyrie  among  the  century-old  trees  overlooking  a 
view  of  rolling,  river-bounded  loveliness,  where  Pied 
mont  hill  and  sapphire  Blue  Ridge,  gaunt  Alleghany 
and  solemn  Ragged  Mountains  blend  into  a  delightful 
harmony,  all  gathering  round  and  enshrining  in  their 
bosom  the  jewel  of  Jefferson,  the  white-domed  Uni 

Such  was  the  spot  where  Edgar  Allan  Poe  arrived 
in  1826  and  wrote  his  name,  the  13 6th  on  the  list, 
on  good  St.  Valentine's  Day,  in  the  Matriculation 
Book  of  the  University. 


A  young  man's  teachers  are  often  those  who  in 
after  life  influence  his  career  most  vitally  ;  and  Jeffer 
son's  sagacity  had  gathered  at  the  University  a  galaxy 
of  brilliant  scholars  who  soon  worked  themselves  into 
this  influence  and  into  reputations  unrivalled  for  learn 
ing,  profundity  and  force.  The  eight  men  with  whom 
Edgar  Poe  was  thrown  into  intimate  official  and  scho 
lastic  contact  were  Dunglison,  Long,  Blaettermann, 
Key,  Bonnycastle,  Emmet,  Tucker,  and  Lomax  ;  and 
from  this  list  one  dare  not  leave  out  the  venerable 
librarian  of  the  University,  William  Wertenbaker, 
who  was  appointed  by  Jefferson  himself  and  held  the 
position  for  forty-three  years  :  a  man  with  whom  Poe 
came  frequently  in  contact. 

"  During  the  year  1826,"  said  Mr.  Wertenbaker,1 
"  there  used  to  come  into  the  library  a  handsome 
young  student,  perhaps  eighteen  years  of  age,  in  search 
of  old  French  books,  principally  histories  ;  that  young 
man,  even  the  little  I  chanced  to  see  of  him,  made  a 
deep  impression  on  me,  and  in  fact  I  am  sure  I  will 
always  tenderly  cherish  my  recollections  of  Edgar 
Allan  Poe." 

Six  out  of  the  eight  professors  (1826)  were  foreign- 
born,  a  little  irreverently  called  by  the  students  in  the 
Faculty  Minute  Books  of  the  time,  when  they  were 
summoned  up  for  some  student  pranks,  ff  those  damned 
European  professors." 

At  least  seven  were  men  of  the  highest  character, 
scholarship,  and  worth  ;  all  were  comparatively 
young,  except  Mr.  George  Tucker,  who  had  been 
called  from  the  halls  of  Congress  by  Jefferson  to  as 
sume  the  professorship  of  Moral  Philosophy,  and  who 
afterwards  greatly  distinguished  himself  as  the  biog- 

1  University  of  Virginia  Magazine,  Vol.  XIX.,  p.  45. 


rapher  of  Jefferson,  the  historian  of  the  United  States, 
the  novelist  of  the  Shenandoah,  and  the  brilliant  essayist 
and  statistician,  first  chairman  of  the  faculty. 

Another,  Mr.  George  Long,  had  an  eminent  liter 
ary  career,  adorned  by  many  successes  and  intimately 
interwoven  with  the  intellectual  life  of  Greece  and 
Rome  as  investigator,  geographer,  historian,  editor,  and 

The  University  Matriculation  Book  of  1826  shows 
that  Edgar  Allan  Poe  wrote  his  name  and  the  date  of 
his  birth,1  the  name  of  his  parent  or  guardian,  his  resi 
dence  and  the  schools  that  he  attended  as  follows  : 
Edgar  A.  Poe;  |  19  January,  1809;  |  John  Allan;2  | 
Richmond,  Va.  ;  |  and  the  Schools  of  Ancient  and 
Modern  Languages.3 

Out  of  the  177  students  present  that  year,  107 
"  elected  "  Ancient  Languages  and  90  elected  Modern 
Languages,  the  number  gathering  from  thirteen  differ 
ent  states  (Catalogues  of  the  University  of  Virginia, 
1825—44),  including  New  York  and  Pennsylvania. 

George  Ticknor's  active  and  open  advocacy  of  the 
reform  educational  views  of  Jefferson  had  already 
aroused  uneasiness  in  New  England,  and  particularly 
at  Harvard,  whose  alert  and  learned  President,  Josiah 
Quincy,  favored  the  elective  system  and  began  to 
inquire  into  the  workings  of  the  new  institution 
(Adams,  130).  Edward  Everett,  too,  viewed  with 
admiring  but  critical  eyes  the  Jefferson  experiment  and 
copied  into  his  "North  American  Review "  article 
for  January,  1820,  Jefferson's  entire  scheme  of  studies 

1  Not  "the   place,"    as  Professor  Woodberry  states,   "Edgar 
Allan  Poe,"   p.   25. 

2  Misspelt  Allen  in  the  records. 

3  Professors  Long  and  Blaettermann. 


proposed  for  the  University  of  Virginia  and  printed  in 
the  proceedings  and  report  of  the  Commissioners  for 
the  University  in  1818. 

What  induced  Mr.  Allan  to  send  his  adopted  son  to 
the  University,  apart  from  the  boy's  precocious  talents 
and  excellent  preparation,  and  the  reputation  of  the 
University,  we  know  not ;  but  hither  he  came  in 
February,  rooming,  first  on  the  Lawn,  and  then,  after 
a  pugilistic  encounter  with  his  room-mate,  Miles 
George,  transferring  himself  and  his  goods  to  No.  13, 
West  Range,  according  to  his  friend,  Mr.  T.  G. 
Tucker ;  to  No.  1 7,  West  Range,  according  to 
another  tradition.1 

Being  Foe's  intimate  friend  at  the  University,  Mr. 
Tucker  may  be  taken,  along  with  Mr.  Wertenbaker 
and  Mr.  Burwell,  as  giving  a  fairly  accurate  account 
of  Poe's  career  while  the  two  young  men  were  fellow- 
students.  He  describes  the  poet  at  this  period  of  life 
as  rather  short  of  stature,  thick,  compactly  set  but 
active,  an  expert  in  all  the  athletic  and  gymnastic  arts. 
A  gymnasium  had  been  opened  in  the  University,  and 
a  military  drill-master,  one  Matthews,  from  West 
•Point,  had  been  employed  to  instruct  volunteers  in 
nilitary  evolutions  and  tactics,  —  an  association  which 
nay  have  influenced  Poe,  a  little  later,  first  to  enter 
he  army  under  an  assumed  name  and  then  formally 
o  enroll  himself  as  a  cadet  at  the  United  States 
Academy  in  1830.  Mr.  Tucker  in  1880  remem 
bered  his  famous  contemporary  as  bow-legged,  jerky 
and  hurried  in  his  movements,  and  with  the  air  and 

1  University  of  Virginia  Magazine,  Vol.  XIX.,  p.  426  seq. 
Mr.  Allan  had  only  recently  inherited  large  wealth  from  his  uncle, 
Mr.  Gait  (1825),  and  thus  felt  able  to  give  his  foster-son  the  best 
University  education. 

40  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

action  of  a  native-born  Frenchman.  He  was  very 
mercurial  in  his  disposition  and  exceedingly  fond  of 
peach-and-honey.  Seven-up  and  loo  were  his  favorite 
games,  for  everybody  played  cards  in  those  days,  and 
he  played  in  so  impassioned  a  manner  that  it  amounted 
almost  to  infatuation.  Card-playing  and  drinking  alike 
were  carried  on  under  the  spell  of  impulse  or  uncon 
trolled  excitement.  His  passion  for  strong  drink  was 
even  then  (continues  Mr.  Tucker)  of  a  most  marked 
and  peculiar  character.  He  would  always  seize  the 
tempting  glass,  generally  unmixed  with  sugar  or 
water,  —  in  fact,  perfectly  straight,  —  and  without 
the  least  apparent  pleasure,  swallow  the  contents,  never 
pausing  until  the  last  drop  had  passed  his  lips.  One 
glass  (the  size  is  not  stated)  at  a  time  was  all  that  he 
could  take  ;  but  this  was  sufficient  to  rouse  his  whole 
nervous  nature  into  a  state  of  strongest  excitement, 
which  found  vent  in  a  continuous  flow  of  wild,  fasci 
nating  talk  that  irresistibly  enchanted  every  listener 
with  siren-like  power. 

Poe  is  described  as  having  been  an  excellent  French 
and  Latin  scholar  ;  he  could  read  and  speak  both  lan 
guages  with  great  ease,  although  he  could  hardly  be 
said  to  have  known  either  language  thoroughly.  Greek 
he  read  indifferently.  Time  and  again  he  would  enter 
into  the  lecture-room  (Pavilion  V.  or  Pavilion  IV., 
where  Professors  Long  and  Blaettermann  lived)  utterly 
unprepared  to  recite  if  called  upon.  But  his  brain  was 
so  active  and  his  memory  so  excellent  that  only  a  few 
moments'  study  was  necessary,  and  then  he  was  ready 
to  make  the  best  recitation  in  the  class.  To  have 
opportunity  of  "reading  ahead".  .  .  was  all  that 
Poe  desired  when  unprepared.  As  a  consequence  of 
this  wonderful  faculty  he  was  able  to  maintain  a  very 


high  position  in  his  classes,  and  win  for  himself  the 
admiration,  but  more  often  the  envy  of  his  fellow- 

"  It  is  delightful  to  know  "  (continues  the  author  of 
the  paper  from  which  we  are  quoting  :  "  Edgar  Allan 
Poe  while  a  student  at  the  University  of  Virginia  ") 
"that  Poe  was  not  exempt  from  that  college  weak 
ness  ...  a  good,  healthy  quarrel  with  .  .  .  one's 
room-mate.  When  he  first  came  to  the  University,  he 
roomed  on  the  Lawn  with  a  young  man  from  Rich 
mond,  Miles  George.  They  had  been  together  but  a 
short  time  when  something  arose  to  disturb  the  har 
monious  intercourse  —  perhaps  Miles  refused  to  arise 
one  morning  to  answer  the  knock  of  Mr.  Wertenbaker 
(librarian  and  secretary  of  the  faculty)  who  in  those 
good  old  days  made  the  rounds  each  morning  to  see 
if  the  fellows  were  up  and  dressed  and  ready  for 
work,  ...  or  perhaps  Edgar  Allan  was  unwilling  to 
count  over  the  clothes  on  Monday  morning  when  the 
washer-woman  came  [there  were  seven  different  an 
cient  colored  dames  who  in  1880  claimed  to  have 
washed  for  "  Marse  Ed.  Poe  !  "].  They  had  a  fall 
ing-out  —  and  a  genuine,  good  old-fashioned  fight, 
retiring  to  a  field  near  the  University ;  and  after  one 
or  two  rounds  they  agreed  that  they  were  satisfied, 
shook  hands,  and  returned  to  the  University  as  warm 
friends,  but  not  as  room-mates.  Poe  after  this  little 
affair  moved  into  No.  13  on  West  Range." 

Poe's  constant  companions  were  Thomas  S.  Ghol- 
son  (afterwards  a  distinguished  Judge),  Upton  Beale 
and  Philip  Slaughter  (later  Episcopal  ministers,  the 
latter  the  eminent  historiographer  of  the  Diocese  of 
Virginia),  Wat  Dunn,  Wm.  A.  Creighton,  and  Wm. 
M.  Burwell  (afterwards  well-known  as  editor  of  "  De 
Bow's  Review  "). 

42  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

"  Whatever  Poe  may  have  been  in  after  years,  he 
was  at  the  University  "  (says  Mr.  Tucker)  "as  true 
and  perfect  a  friend  as  the  waywardness  of  his  nature 
would  allow.  There  was  never  then  the  least  trace  of 
insincerity,  and  never  the  least  indication  of  that  fickle 
ness  of  disposition  with  which  he  was  afterwards  so 
often  —  although  in  the  main,  we  think,  unjustly  — 

"  Poe  showed  his  warm  appreciation  and  high  re 
spect  for  his  friend  Tucker  by  reading  to  him  the  early 
productions  of  his  youth,  —  productions  that  his  critical 
hand  afterwards  destroyed,  thinking  them  unfit  for 
publication.  Sometimes,  when  he  had  written  an 
article  that  Tucker  would  especially  praise,  he  would 
call  in  a  few  of  his  friends  and  read  it  to  them.  Those 
men  who  were  fortunate  enough  to  hear  these  im 
promptu  readings  never  forgot  them,  and  those  of  the 
number  who  were  still  living  in  1880  declared  that 
there  was  no  impression  on  their  minds  more  strikingly 
vivid.  They  were  mostly  stories  characterized  by 
that  same  weirdness  of  style,  graphically  picturing  hor 
rible  scenes  and  incidents,  that  so  strongly  marked  all 
of  his  published  writings.  His  little  room  on  West 
Range  was  often  filled  with  a  small,  select  audience  of 
his  most  particular  friends  who,  spell-bound,  scarcely 
breathed  while  they  eagerly  listened  to  some  story,  — 
strange  and  wild,  like  all  the  rest,  —  that  he  had  just 
written  and  that  he  read  with  his  whole  soul  thrown 
into  every  action  and  intonation  of  his  voice  —  now 
loud  and  rapid,  like  the  mad  rush  of  many  waters, 
and  now  sinking  into  a  scarcely  audible  whisper,  of 
some  terrible  sentence  of  incantation  or  curse  sending 
a  shiver  over  all  that  heard. 

"  On  one  occasion  Poe  read  a  story  of  great  length 


to  some  of  his  friends  who,  in  a  spirit  of  jest,  spoke 
lightly  of  its  merits,  and  jokingly  told  him  that  his 
hero's  name,  '  Gaffy,'  occurred  too  often.  His  proud 
spirit  would  not  stand  such  open  rebuke  ;  so  in  a  fit 
of  anger,  before  his  friends  could  prevent  him,  he  had 
flung  every  sheet  into  a  blazing  fire,  and  thus  was  lost 
a  story  of  more  than  ordinary  parts  which,  unlike  most 
of  his  stories,  was  intensely  amusing,  entirely  free 
from  his  usual  sombre  coloring  and  sad  conclusions 
merged  in  a  mist  of  impenetrable  gloom.  He  was  for 
a  long  time  afterwards  called  by  those  in  his  particular 
circle  f  Gaffy '  Poe,  a  name  that  he  never  altogether 

"  Gaming  during  the  first  two  or  three  sessions  of 
the  University  was  very  prevalent.  In  fact,  during 
the  early  quarter  of  the  present  century  it  was  indulged 
in  to  a  certain  extent  more  or  less  by  our  very  best 
people.  But,  of  course,  it  was  something  in  an  insti 
tution  like  this  of  so  pernicious  a  nature  as  to  demand 
a  decided  check.  This,  /the  year  before  his  death, 
Mr.  Jefferson  attempted  by  trying  to  stop  the  general 
card-playing  at  the  University  ;  he  and  the  Board  of 
Visitors  made  an  arrangement  with  the  civil  authorities 
to  ferret  out  the  most  noted  of  the  young  gamblers  and 
have  them  indicted  and  brought  before  the  next  Grand 
Jury.  So  on  a  given  day  the  Sheriff  with  a  goodly 
posse  appeared  within  the  doorway  of  one  of  the 
lecture-rooms  just  as  the  morning-roll  was  about  to  be 
called,  ready  to  serve  his  writs  on  certain  young  men 
as  they  answered  to  their  names.  But  these  young 
rakes  were  not  to  be  so  easily  ensnared  in  the  toils  of 
the  enemy.  They  needed  no  worH  of  warning  ;  the 
mere  glimpse  of  the  Sheriff's  ^shadow  in  the  dotJrway 
with  his  men  behind  him,  was  more  than  enough  to 

44  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

convey  to  their  minds  an  idea  of  what  was  coming. 
With  Edgar  Allan  Poe  for  a  leader  they  indiscrimi 
nately  '  bolted,'  —  some  through  the  open  windows 
[probably  at  Professor  Long's,  a  house  having  a  lower 
room  of  many  windows,  now  occupied  by  Prof.  F.  H. 
Smith],  and  some  through  the  opposite  door.  Sheriff, 
posse,  and  professor  were  left  in  full  possession  of  the 
empty  lecture-room.  Then  the  hot  pursuit ! 

"  But  those  who  were  most  wanted  made  their  suc 
cessful  escape,  not  to  their  rooms  —  they  would  not 
have  been  safe  there  ;  but  off  to  the  *  Ragged  Moun 
tains  '  over  an  unfrequented  by-path,  but  one  well- 
known  to  Poe  and  over  which  he  had  often  travelled. 
They  were  aware  it  would  not  be  well  to  return  to 
the  University  until  after  night ;  so  some  of  the  party 
had  managed  in  their  hasty  flight  to  snatch  up  a  'deck ' 
or  so  of  cards  with  which  to  while  away  the  hours  of 
their  self-imposed  banishment.  Their  place  of  retreat 
was  a  beautiful  dell  high  up  in  the  mountains,  and  very 
inaccessible,  being  far  away  from  any  beaten  path,  but 
the  spot  that  was  a  favorite  haunt  with  Poe.  And  here 
the  fugitives  remained  three  days."  1 

Many  of  Poe's  well-known  views  on  landscape 
gardening  ("Landor's  Cottage,"  "The  Domain  of 
Arnheim,"  etc.)  were  doubtless  shaping  themselves  in 
his  fertile  youthful  brain  as  he  rambled  over  these  De 
lectable  Mountains  and  drank  in  their  delicious  beauty, 
doubtless  too  visiting  the  many  lordly  plantation  houses 
in  the  neighborhood,  swimming  in  the  yellow  Rivanna 
that  cleaves  the  plain  with  its  golden  torrent,  and 
tramping  through  the  hickory  and  locust  forests  that 

1  The  writer  has  considerably  condensed  the  account  in  the 


fairly  flash  in  spring  with  the  white  flame  of  the  milky 
dogwood  blossom. 

The  following  recollections 1  by  Mr.  William  Wer- 
tenbaker,  were  drawn  up  in  1869.  The  aged  Libra 
rian  says  : 

"  Mr.  Poe  was  a  student  during  the  second  session, 
which  commenced  February  1st  and  terminated  De 
cember  1 5th,  1826.  He  signed  the  matriculation 
book  on  the  I4th  of  February,  and  remained  in  good 
standing  until  the  session  closed.  He  was  born  on 
the  1 9th  day  of  January,  1 809,  being  a  little  over 
seventeen  when  he  matriculated.  He  entered  the 
schools  of  Ancient  and  Modern  Languages,  attending 
the  lectures  in  Latin,  Greek,  French,  Spanish  and 

"  I  was  myself  a  member  of  the  last  three  classes, 
and  can  testify  that  he  was  tolerably  regular  in  his 
attendance,  and  a  successful  student,  having  obtained 
distinction  at  the  Final  Examination  in  Latin  and 
French  ;  and  this  was  at  that  time  the  highest  honor  a 
student  could  obtain.  The  present  regulations  in  re 
gard  to  degrees  had  not  then  been  adopted.  Under 
existing  regulations  he  would  have  graduated  in  the 
two  languages  above  named,  and  have  been  entitled  to 
diplomas.  On  one  occasion  Professor  Blaettermann 
requested  his  Italian  class  to  render  into  English  verse 
a  portion  of  the  lesson  in  Tasso,  which  he  had 
assigned  them  for  the  next  lecture.  He  did  not 
require  this  of  them  as  a  regular  class  exercise,  but 
recommended  it  as  one  from  which  he  thought  the 
students  would  derive  benefit.  At  the  next  lecture 

1  Here  reproduced  by  the  present  writer  from  his  paper  in  The 
Independent  for  September,  1900,  with  the  kind  permission  of  the 

46  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

on  Italian  the  Professor  stated  from  his  chair  that  Mr. 
Poe  was  the  only  member  of  the  class  who  had 
responded  to  his  suggestion,  and  paid  a  very  high 
compliment  to  his  performance.  As  Librarian  I  had 
frequent  official  intercourse  with  Mr.  Poe,  but  it  was 
at  or  near  the  close  of  the  session  before  I  met  him 
in  the  social  circle.  After  spending  an  evening  to 
gether  at  a  private  house,  he  invited  me  in  on  our 
return  to  his  room.  It  was  a  cold  night  in  December, 
and  his  fire  having  gone  pretty  nearly  out,  by  the  aid 
of  some  tallow  candles,  and  the  fragments  of  a  small 
table  which  he  broke  up  for  the  purpose,  he  soon 
rekindled  it,  and  by  its  comfortable  blaze  I  spent  a 
very  pleasant  hour  with  him.  On  this  occasion  he 
spoke  with  regret  of  the  large  amount  of  money  he 
had  wasted  and  of  the  debts  he  had  contracted  during 
the  session.  If  my  memory  is  not  at  fault,  he 
estimated  his  indebtedness  at  $2,000,  and,  though 
they  were  gaming  debts,  he  was  earnest  and  emphatic 
in  the  declaration  that  he  was  bound  by  honor  to 
pay,  at  the  earliest  opportunity,  every  cent  of  them. 
He  certainly  was  not  habitually  intemperate,  but  he 
may  occasionally  have  entered  into  a  frolic.  I  often 
saw  him  in  the  lecture-room  and  in  the  library,  but 
never  in  the  slightest  degree  under  the  influence  of 
intoxicating  liquors.  Among  the  professors  he  had 
the  reputation  of  being  a  sober,  quiet  and  orderly 
young  man,  and  to  them  and  the  officers  his  deport 
ment  was  uniformly  that  of  an  intelligent  and  polished 
gentleman.  Although  his  practice  of  gaming  did 
escape  detection,  the  hardihood,  intemperance  and 
reckless  wildness  imputed  to  him  by  his  biographers, 
had  he  been  guilty  of  them,  must  inevitably  have 
come  to  the  knowledge  of  the  faculty  and  met  with 


merited  punishment.  The  records  of  which  I  was 
then,  and  am  still,  the  custodian,  attest  that  at  no 
time  during  the  session  did  he  fall  under  the  censure 
of  the  faculty.  Mr.  Poe's  connection  with  the  Uni 
versity  was  dissolved  by  the  termination  of  the  session 
on  the  1 5th  of  December,  1826.  He  then  wanted 
little  over  a  month  of  having  attained  to  the  age  of 
eighteen  :  the  date  of  his  birth  was  plainly  entered 
in  his  own  handwriting  on  the  matriculation  book. 
Were  he  now  living,  his  age  on  the  I9th  of  this 
month  (January,  1869)  would  be  sixty.  He  never 
returned  to  the  University,  and  I  think  it  probable  that 
the  night  I  visited  him  was  the  last  he  spent  here.  I 
draw  this  inference  not  from  memory,  but  from  the 
fact,  that  having  no  further  use  for  his  candles  and 
table  he  made  fuel  of  them. 

"  Mr.  Poe's  works  are  more  in  demand  and  more 
read  than  those  of  any  other  author,  American  or  for 
eign,  now  in  the  library.  To  gratify  curiosity,  I  copy 
from  the  register  a  list  of  the  books  which  Mr.  Poe 
borrowed  from  the  library  while  he  was  a  student : 
Rollin  —  '  Histoire  Ancienne,'  <  Histoire  Romaine  ;  ' 
Robertson's  —  '  America  ; '  Marshall's  —  '  Washing 
ton  ;  '  Voltaire  —  '  Histoire  Particuliere  ; '  Dufief's 
—  'Nature  Displayed.''  (University  of  Virginia, 
January,  1869.) 

Mr.  Wertenbaker's  statements  may  well  be  supple 
mented  by  the  following  extracts  from  "  Edgar  A. 
Poe,  and  his  College  Contemporaries,"  published  by 
the  Hon.  Wm.  M.  Burwell,  editor  of  "  De  Bow's 
Review,"  in  the  New  Orleans  "Times-Democrat," 
May  1 8,  1884  : 

"  My  recollection  of  Poe,  then  little  more  than  a 
boy,  is  that  he  was  about  five  feet  two  or  three  inches 


in  height,  somewhat  bandy-legged,  but  in  no  sense 
muscular  or  apt  in  physical  exercises.  His  face  was 
feminine,  with  finely  marked  features,  and  eyes  dark, 
liquid,  and  expressive.  He  dressed  well  and  neatly. 
He  was  a  very  attractive  companion,  genial  in  his 
nature  and  familiar,  by  the  varied  life  that  he  had 
already  led,  with  persons  and  scenes  new  to  the 
unsophisticated  provincials  among  whom  he  was 
thrown.  .  .  .  What,  however,  impressed  his  asso 
ciates  most  were  his  remarkable  attainments  as  a  classi 
cal  scholar.  The  professor  of  ancient  languages  and 
literature  was  an  accomplished  linguist  and  philologer. 
He  was  a  terror  to  those  who  had  only  learned  to 
translate  the  curriculum  of  authors  taught  in  the 
average  academy.  To  these  Juvenal  and  Statius, 
Homer  and  Hesiod  were  the  bounds  of  all  classical 
knowledge,  while  to  most  of  them  the  history,  litera 
ture,  geography,  and  the  social  conditions  of  the 
ancients  beyond  the  lids  of  the  text-books  and  the  dic 
tionary,  were  unknown. 

"  With  this  literature  in  texts  and  comments  Poe 
was  familiar.  It  had  no  doubt  been  inculcated  at  Stoke- 
Newington  and  is  manifest  in  many  beautiful  allusions 
throughout  his  writings.  .  .  .  Among  the  most  signifi 
cant  tributes  to  his  extraordinary  powers  of  analysis 
and  metaphysical  reasoning  may  be  noted  that  Jules 
Verne,  in  one  of  his  later  novels  .  .  .  pronounces 
Poe  the  ablest  analytical  writer  of  his  day,  and  em 
ploys  the  mathematical  methods  of  The  Gold-Bug  to 
solve  a  cryptographic  mystery  in  his  own  story. 

"  The  particular  dissipation  of  the  University  at 
this  time  was  gaming  with  cards,  and  into  this  Poe 
plunged  with  a  recklessness  of  nature  that  knew  no 
bounds.  .  He  called  on  the  writer  in  Baltimore 


after  his  return,  as  was  understood,  from  Russia.      He 
was  in  temporary  trouble  incurred  by  intemperance. 

"  Whatever  may  have  been  his  natural  tendencies 
to  dissipation,  Poe  found  a  state  of  things  favorable  to 
their  development  at  the  University.  Southern  young 
men  were  indulged  in  abundant  means  and  entire 
absence  of  restraint.  They  flocked  to  this  new  insti 
tution  as  to  a  watering-place.  .  .  .  To  the  first  ses-t 
sions  of  this  admirable  school  poured  in  the  Southern* 
youth,  most  of  them  intent  upon  availing  themselves 
of  the  advantages  afforded.  Among  them,  however, 
were  many  who  had  little  other  object  than  to  com 
bine  enjoyment  with  the  preparatory  routine  of  a  liberal 
education.  Some  of  this  class  arrived  with  unlimited 
means,  others  with  elegant  equipages.  One  came  from 
the  Eastern  Shore  with  a  tandem  of  blooded  horses, 
a  servant,  a  fowling-piece  and  a  pointer  or  two.  Some 
were  afflicted  with  habits  of  extravagance,  and  contempt 
for  the  toilsome  acquisition  of  Knowledge.  .  .  .  Mr. 
Jefferson,  having  assumed  that  these  high-spirited  coad 
jutors  in  the  defense  of  our  constitutional  ramparts 
comprehended  his  patriotic  motives,  had  provided  no 
discipline  for  their  scholastic  deportment.  He  con 
fided  that  the  restraints  of  propriety  would  be  sufficient 
to  make  them  behave  themselves  as  gentlemen. 

"  They  certainly  did  behave  themselves  as  gentle 
men  of  the  highest  style.  They  gamed,  fought  duels, 
attended  weddings  for  thirty  miles  around,  and  went 
in  debt  in  the  most  liberal  manner. 

"  But  we  repeat  that  the  University  was  not  rilled 
with  this  gay  and  determined  class  which  has  been 
described.  There  were  hundreds  who  appreciated  the 
privileges  of  the  institution,  and  who  paid  no  attention 
to  the  follies  which  occurred  among  their  fellow- 
VOL.  i.  — 4 


students.  These  steady  students  passed  through  their 
course  of  study  and  vindicated  its  value  by  their  after 

"  The  particular  habit  of  gaming  prevailed  because 
there  was  no  other  excitement  in  which  the  animal 
spirits  of  these  wild  young  men  could  have  evaporated. 
The  buildings  first  completed  stood  in  the  midst 
of  uncultivated  fields  and  other  unattractive  scenery. 
The  county  of  Albemarle  contained  many  families  of  the 
highest  worth.  Indeed,  it  had  furnished  many  of  the 
most  eminent  men  in  the  State's  history.  Mr.  Jeffer 
son,  Lewis,  the  explorer  of  the  Missouri,  Clark,  his 
associate,  Gen.  Rogers  Clark,  who  captured  Kaskaskia 
from  the  British,  General  Sumter  of  the  Revolution, 
the  Minors,  Gilmers,  Carters,  Carrs  and  others  were 
all  natives  of  Albemarle,  but  these  families  were  scat 
tered  over  a  large  country.  The  court-house  town  of 
Charlottesville  had  been  the  place  near  which  the 
prisoners  captured  at  Saratoga  had  been  confined.  It 
had  been  the  temporary  seat  of  the  Legislature  during 
the  invasion  or  raid  of  Tarleton.  It  had  a  population 
of  several  hundred,  but  at  the  period  now  spoken  of 
Mr.  Jefferson  had  recorded,  as  one  of  the  religious 
tolerations,  that  there  being  no  church  in  the  village, 
each  of  the  principal  church  persuasions  held  its  services 
in  the  court-house  under  a  rotation  agreed  on  among 
themselves.  The  families  of  the  professors  were  too 
limited  to  furnish  social  facilities  to  the  students.  So 
far,  then,  from  there  being  at  or  around  the  University 
a  social  intercourse  of  sufficient  extent  to  have  pro 
vided  even  reasonable  recreation  for  so  many  young 
men,  there  was  not  even  a  public  opinion  strong 
enough  to  rebuke  their  excesses. 

"The  public  opinion  and  corporate  ordinances  of 


the  village  were  alike  disregarded.  The  disorder  and 
dissipation  of  the  students  were  subjects  of  indignant 
censure.  The  few  merchants  and  hotels  found  their 
accounts  in  this  extravagance,  though  the  reckless 
creation  of  debt  led  to  the  enactment  of  a  statute  sub 
sequently  by  which  such  debts  when  beyond  the  rea 
sonable  wants  of  a  student,  were  declared  void.  A 
party  of  students  on  a  frolic  were  coming  along  the 
road  between  the  village  and  the  University,  when  they 
suddenly  encountered  the  professor  of  moral  philosophy 
and  political  economy.  Most  of  the  party  escaped; 
but  one,  after  a  distinguished  advocate,  disdained  con 
cealment.  '  I  am,'  said  he,  '  K.  M.  M.  of  Tuscaloosa, 
Ala.,  too  firm  to  fly,  and  far  too  proud  to  yield.' 
'And,'  said  the  professor,  '  Mr.  M.  might  have  added 
"almost  too  drunk  to  stand."  '  " 


A  close  study  of  the  Faculty  Books  for  1825,  1826, 
and  1827  reveals  many  facts  of  interest  to  the  student 
of  University  life  in  Virginia  in  the  first  quarter  of  the 

Starting  out  with  a  democratic  theory  that  the  stu 
dents  should  be  a  self-governing  body  and  should  — • 
being  put  on  their  honor  —  take  care  of  their  own 
morals  and  manners,  Mr.  Jefferson  and  the  early  trus 
tees  of  the  institution  were  before  long  brought  to  the 
conclusion  that  an  outside  police  was  essential  to  the 
comfort  and  reputation  of  both  students  and  professors. 
A  riot  having  broken  out  in  October,  1825,  among 
the  matriculates,  the  professors  informed  Mr.  Jefferson 
that  they  would  resign  in  a  body  if  a  proper  police 

52  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

were  not  appointed  to  take  care  of  the  grounds  and 
buildings,  and  of  their  inhabitants.  Rules  and  regula 
tions  gradually  increased  in  number  and  severity  (there 
were  already  some  ninety  odd  printed  in  the  Enact 
ments  of  1825)  ;  the  blood  that  oozed  from  Draco's 
famous  code  began  to  sprinkle  the  laws  of  the  "  rude 
forefathers  "  of  the  Virginia  "  hamlet  ;  J>  and  tradition 
yet  lives  that  one  of  Jefferson's  own  kinsmen  was  the 
first  student  expelled,  Roman-like,  by  the  angered 
founder,  through  the  faculty,  from  his  beloved  institu 

As  early  as  December,  1825,  a  University  Reading 
Room  was  suggested  ;  the  Lawn,  well-known  and  be 
loved  by  all  University  men  as  the  beautiful  verdure- 
clad  parallelogram  that  flows  in  dropping,  five-fold 
terraces  from  the  column-crowned  esplanade  of  the 
Rotunda  down  to  Lovers'  Walk  of  the  olden  days,  and 
to  the  Ionic-pillared  Aula  of  the  present,  edged  by 
cloistered  dormitories  and  by  the  Greek  porticoes  of 
the  professors'  Pavilions,  is  first  mentioned  in  the 
Minutes  in  October,  1825  ;  the  old  University  bell, 
purchased  by  Jefferson  himself  (now  cracked,  and  pre 
served  as  a  sacred  relic  in  the  Brooks  Museum),  tolled 
for  the  first  time  July  5,  1826,  in  honor  of  the  august 
memory  of  the  great  President,  who  had  died  the  day 
before  ;  and  the  first  fourth  of  July  oration  was  ap 
pointed  to  be  delivered  in  this  memorable  year. 

This  year,  too,  a  library  catalogue  was  suggested  ; 
the  library  (originally  placed  in  the  old  Central  Col 
lege  building,  now  Pavilion  VII.,  the  residence  of 
Prof.  N.  K.  Davis,  and  first  of  the  Pavilions  to  be 
built)  was  ordered  opened  every  day  except  Saturday 
and  Sunday,  from  3.30  to  5  P.M.,  so  that  students 
might  consult  the  rare  and  fine  collection  of  standard 

O    'w 

?  1 

6   i        c 

33   •*!   "« 


works  picked  and  chosen  by  Jefferson  himself,  and 
afterwards  enriched  by  President  Madison's  collec 
tion  and  many  miscellaneous  donations  and  purchases. 

Over  and  over  again  during  these  troublesome 
years — a  triad  of  experimental  beginnings  —  the  stu 
dents'  names  were  ordered  to  be  painted  on  the  doors 
of  their  dormitories,  and  professors  were  permitted  to 
break  down  these  doors  if  they  were  not  instantly 
opened  on  requisition  ;  but  for  some  reason  the  paint 
ing  does  not  appear  to  have  been  done.  Parents  and 
guardians  were  admitted  to  the  examinations,  reports 
of  which  were  ordered  printed  in  1826,  in  the  Rich 
mond  "  Enquirer  "  and  other  papers  ;  and  in  midsum 
mer,  1827,  there  is  a  record  of  examinations  beginning 
at  5  o'clock  in  the  morning  ! 

Ever  since  this  same  year  the  janitor  has  rung  the 
morning  alarum-bell  at  6.30,  and  this  year  was  also 
signalized  by  the  first  use  of  the  merit  system  in  the 
arrangement  of  the  names  of  the  successful  examinees, 
the  names  being  arranged  in  several  divisions  (ist, 
2nd,  3rd)  according  to  the  standing  of  the  student  ; 
the  earlier  announcements,  as  in  Poe's  two  certificates 
quoted  below,  having  been  alphabetical.  The  final 
examinations  of  this  year  seem  to  have  lasted  only  one 
and  one-half  to  two  and  one-half  hours  each.  Profes 
sors'  reports  were  handed  in  and  discussed  in  full 
faculty  meeting  in  1826  and  1827,  an^  t^e  first  refer 
ence  to  monthly  circulars  to  parents  occurs  in  October, 
1827.  The  faculty  balloted  for  chairman,  and  already, 
in  1827,  there  were  complaints  of  the  arduous  duties 
of  the  chairmanship. 

A  valued  correspondent  throws  amusing  light  on  the 
difficulties  of  student  life  at  the  University  in  those 
days,  and  writes  : 

54  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

"I  will  relate  a  little  incident  of  Dr.  Thomas'  " 
-Thomas  was  Poe's  desk-mate  at  Burke' s  Academy, 
Richmond,  —  "  student  days  at  the  University  as  he 
told  me.  It  may  be  an  incentive  to  students  of  to 
day.  At  that  time,  while  Mr.  Jefferson  was  Rector, 
.  .  .  there  was  only  one  text-book  in  Mixed  Mathe 
matics,  which  had  to  be  used  by  a  class  of  ten  students 
to  prepare  on  the  lectures  given  by  the  professor. 
Consequently,  the  class  would  divide  in  two  sections, 
one  party  studying  until  one  o'clock  at  night,  and  the 
other  party  after  that  time  until  morning  !  ' ' 

No  wonder  that  the  chairmanship  went  a-begging  ; 
the  professors  would  not  elect,  and  the  appointment 
had  finally  to  be  made  by  the  Visitors. 

Poe's  introduction  to  Latin  and  Greek,  to  ancient 
rhythms  and  metres  in  their  higher  artistic  forms,  and 
to  ancient  and  modern  literatures  in  all  their  myriad 
cultural  and  aesthetic  associations,  was  thus  in  the 
hands  of  accomplished  men  who  took  him  up  at  the 
point  where  his  thorough  training  in  England  for  five 
years  and  his  brilliant  record  at  Mr.  Clarke's  and  Mr. 
Burke' s  classical  schools  in  Richmond  for  four  or  five 
years  more,  rendered  him  their  fit  and  apt  pupil. 
Col.  J.  T.  L.  Preston  attested  privately  and  publicly 
—  especially  in  his  reminiscences  of  Poe  in  the  Ingram 
Biography  —  the  poet's  rare  accomplishments —  for  a 
mere  boy  —  in  reading  and  "  capping"  Latin  verse, 
and  Professor  Blaettermann  eulogized  his  translation 
from  Tasso.  It  may  not  be  at  all  impossible  that 
Poe's  penchant  for  geography,  wild  and  weird  as  it  is, 
in  "Arthur  Gordon  Pym,"  "The  Journal  of  Julius 
Rodman,"  and  elsewhere,  may  have  been  suggested 
by  Professor  Long's  passion  for  this  study  and  continu 
ous  harping  on  it,  following  Jefferson's  contention  that 


geography  and  ^history  must  be  studied  together  as 
essential  subsidiaries  to  textual  researches  in  Latin  and 
Greek;  and  Foe's  passion  for  moon-hoaxes  and  lunar 
voyages  may  have  had  their  inception  in  Professor 
Tucker's  (f  A  Voyage  to  the  Moon,"  published  in 
1827  and  reviewed  by  Dr.  Dunglison  in  the  "  Amer 
ican  Quarterly"  for  March,  1828.  "  Its  evident 
aim  was  to  fulfil  for  the  existing  age,"  says  the  Doctor, 
"  what  Swift  had  so  successfully  accomplished  for  that 
which  had  passed  ;  to  attack,  by  the  weapons  of  ridi 
cule,  those  votaries  of  knowledge  who  may  have  sought 
to  avail  themselves  of  the  universal  love  of  novelty 
amongst  mankind  to  acquire  celebrity,  etc.,  who  may 
have  been  misled  by  their  own  ill-regulated  imagina 
tions  to  obtrude  upon  the  world  their  crude  and  im 
perfect  theories  and  systems,  to  the  manifest  retardation 
of  knowledge."  x 

It  was  at  any  rate  the  seed-time  for  this  precocious 
genius  who,  according  to  every  account,  had  already 
composed  many  a  rhyme,  even  before  he  came  to  the 
University,  and  possessed  a  tropically  luxuriant  im 
agination  only  too  ready  to  take  in  hints  and  suggestions 
from  every  quarter. 

His  fondness  for  French  and  for  France  was  evinced 
by  the  little  episode  in  Richmond  in  1824,  when 
Lafayette  visited  the  city,  and  by  Poe's  historical  read 
ings  in  that  language  in  1826.  In  1824  Lafayette 
had  visited  Jefferson  and  was  superbly  entertained  at 
a  banquet  in  one  of  the  unfinished  corridors  of  the 
Rotunda;  and  traditions  still  float  about  the  ancient 
burgh  of  enthusiastic  spectators  watching  the  three 
presidents  driving  around  in  a  coach  with  the  French 
general  as  their  guest. 

1  University  of  Virginia  Magazine,  XIX.  557. 

56  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

While  Poe  was  at  the  University,  the  death  of  Jeffer 
son  occurred,  on  the  ever-memorable  4th  of  July,  i  826, 
when  he  and  his  president-friend  Adams  passed  over 
to  the  other  shore  on  the  same  day. 

The  years  1825,  1826,  and  1827  were  undoubtedly 
critical  and  crucial  years  in  the  history  of  the  Univer 
sity.  The  novelty  of  the  educational  experiment, 
heralded  far  and  wide  over  the  continent ;  the  scepti 
cism  with  which  it  had  been  viewed  by  Northern 
specialists  in  pedagogy  ;  the  doubt  as  to  whether  a 
faculty  so  thoroughly  European  could  adapt  itself  to 
republican  institutions  ;  the  untried  democratic  govern 
ment  of  the  students  by  themselves  ;  the  abolition  (so 
warmly  advocated  at  Harvard  by  George  Ticknor), 
of  the  ancient  class  system,  and  the  wholesale  intro 
duction  of  the  elective  system  of  the  German  univer 
sities,  a  hundred  years  in  advance  of  the  time ;  the 
introduction  of  non-compulsory  attendance  at  chapel 
and  of  optional  military  drill  the  very  first  year  of  the 
University  ;  the  establishment  of  workshops  for  practi 
cal  education  in  1825  ;  the  encouragement  of  vacci 
nation  by  gratis  treatment,  inaugurated  by  the  medical 
professors  under  the  supervision  of  Jefferson  —  were 
all  items  and  experiments  viewed,  some  with  interest, 
others  with  amazement  and  incredulity  by  the  peda 
gogues  of  the  time. 

The  Minutes  of  this  period  abound  in  allusions  to 
the  wildness  and  extravagance  of  the  young  men, 
peculiar  not  to  the  University,  but  common  to  the 
whole  country  during  the  first  decades  of  the  century. 
Boyish  pranks  of  all  kinds,  such  as  ringing  the  college 
bell,  firing  of  squibs  and  pistols,  playing  loo  and 
whist,  etc.,  are  duly  and  solemnly  recorded  in  these 
naive  notes  (which  were  never  intended  for  the 


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Faculty  Record  for  Dec.  20,  1826,  containing  an  examination 

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the  charge  that  the  University  hotel  keepers  drank  and 


public  eye),  along  with  the  mention  of  drinking 
"mint-slings,"  apple-toddy,  and  egg-nog,  the  keep 
ing  of  dogs  by  the  students,  gambling,  riotous  living, 
and  licentious  conduct.  It  was  merely  the  bubbling, 
ebullient  life  of  the  Young  Republic  released  for  a 
moment  from  discipline,  gambolling  in  its  conscious 
strength,  effervescing  momentarily  in  intemperance  and 
revelry,  not  essentially  or  irremediably  bad. 

In  fact,  of  the  men  who  were  at  the  University 
with  Poe  in  1826,  a  long  and  remarkable  list  may  be 
compiled  showing  thirty  or  forty  who  became  distin 
guished  in  various  departments  of  literary,  political  or 
ecclesiastical  life,  his  class-mates  or  intimate  friends  ; 
members  of  legislatures,  members  of  Congress,  con 
suls,  generals,  doctors  of  divinity,  judges,  a  governor, 
chairmen  of  the  Faculty,  University  professors,  presi 
dents  of  colleges,  missionaries,  editors,  scientists, 
officers  in  the  United  States  and  Confederate  States 
armies,  physicians,  railroad  presidents,  —  a  list l  long 
and  remarkable  indeed,  partially  as  follows  : 

Baylor,  Richard,  Member  Virginia  Legislature. 

Boyd,  T.  J.,  Member  Va.  Legislature  and  of  Board  of 
Public  Works. 

Brown,  Algernon  S.,  M.D.  ;  Member  of  La.  Legislature. 

Brown,  Geo.  F. ,  U.  S.  Consul  to  Algiers. 

Burwell,  Wm.  M.,  Author,  Editor  of  De  Bow's  Review. 

1  The  list  of  contemporaries  of  Poe  drawn  up  by  Hon. 
Wm.  M.  Burwell  (New  Orleans  Times  Democrat  for  May  18, 
1884)  is  very  inaccurate;  ours  is  taken  from  the  official  catalogue 
of  the  University  for  1826. 

This  list  was  compiled  for  the  editor  by  the  obliging  Librarian 
of  the  University,  Mr.  F.  W.  Page. 


Carter,  John  A.^Member  of  Va.  Convention  of  1850  $ 
Member  Va.  Legislature. 

Chalmers,  Joseph  W.,  Vice-Chancellor  of  Mississippi  ; 
Member  U.  S.  Senate  ;  Judge. 

Coleman,  Henry  E. ,  Member  Va.  Legislature  5  County 
Supt.  Schools. 

Collier,  Robert  R. ,  Member  Va.  Senate, 
Daniel,  Wm.,  Judge. 

Davis,  J.  A.  G.,  Professor  of  Law  and  Chairman  of 
Faculty  U.  Va. 

Dixon,  Henry  T. ,  Major  and  Paymaster  U.  S.  A. 

Gholson,  Thomas  S.,  District  Judge,  Member  of  Con 
gress  of  Confederate  States  (Poe's  intimate  friend). 

Graham,  Geo.  Mason,  Capt.  U.  S.  Vol.  Mexico  ;  Vice- 
President  and  Supervisor  Louisiana  State  Military 
Academy  ;  Adj.  Gen*  1  La. 

Harrison,  Gessner,  eminent  philologist,  Professor  and 
Chairman  of  the  Faculty  of  the  University  ofVa. 

Harvie,  Lewis  E. ,  Member  of  Va.  Legislature,  President 
R.  &  D.  R.  R. 

Holladay,  Albert  L.,  Presbyterian  Minister,  Missionary 
to  Persia,  President  of  Hampden-Sidney  College. 

Hubard,  Edmund  W.,  Member  of  Congress. 

Hunter,  R.  M.  T.,M.  C.  and  U.  S.  Senator,  Senator 
C.  S.,  Secretary  of  State  Confederate  States,  Treasurer 
of  Virginia. 

Lee,  Zaccheus  C.,  An  eloquent  and  able  advocate,  of 

Lewis,  Geo.  W. ,  Member  of  Va.  Legislature  ;  Member 
Va.  Senate  5  Judge. 



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Faculty  Record  for  Dec.  20,  1826,  containing  an  examinatio 

gambled  w 





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to  the  charge  that  the  University  hotel  keepers  drank  and 


Loving,  Wm.  V.,  Common  wealth's  Attorney  $  Judge. 
Magruder,  B.  H.,  Colonel  5  Member  Va.  Legislature. 

Magruder,  John  Bankhead,  Capt.  U.  S.  A.  in  Mexico  j 
Maj.-Gen.  C.  S.  A. 

Murphy,  Wm.  M.,  Member  Alabama  Legislature. 

Pleasants,  Hugh  R.,  Author,  Editor  of  the  Richmond 
Whig  and  of  the  Dispatch. 

Preston,  John  S.,  Orator,  Brig.  General  C.  S.  A. 

Scott,  Robert  E. ,  Commonwealth's  Attorney  ;  Member 
of  Va.  Legislature,  Member  of  Virginia  Convention 
of  1861. 

Shackelford,  Henry,  Member  Va.  Legislature  ;  Common 
wealth's  Attorney  ;  Judge. 

Sims,  Wm.  D.,  Member  Va.  Legislature. 

Slaughter,  Philip,  Episcopal  Minister  5  D.D.,  author, 
Historiographer  of  the  Diocese  of  Virginia. 

Sothoron,  J.  H.,  Member  Maryland  Legislature. 

Swann,  Thomas,  Pres.  B.  &  O.  R.  R.,  Mayor  of  Balti 
more,  Governor  of  Maryland,  Member  of  Congress. 

Taylor,  Robert  E.,  Member  Va.  Legislature. 

Taylor,  Tazewell,  Member  Va.  Convention  of  1850  ; 
Col.  C.  S.  A.,  Member  of  Va.  Senate. 

Tutwiler,  Henry,  ist  M.A.  of  the  University  of  Vir 
ginia,  University  Professor  in  Alabama. 

Wallace,  Robert;  Member  Va.  Legislature. 

Wertenbaker,  Wm.,  42  years  P.M.  Univ.  of  Va.,  43 
years  librarian  and  secretary  of  the  Faculty. 

Willis,  John,  Member  Va.  Legislature. 

60  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

It  will  thus  be  seen  that  there  could  have  been  in 
many  respects  no  more  admirable  social  and  intellec 
tual  environment  in  the  United  States  for  a  young  man 
of  precocious  promise  than  existed  at  the  University  of 
Virginia  in  1826.  The  place  was  renowned  for  its 
hospitality,  heightened  by  the  delightful  sociability  that 
reigned  at  Monticello  ;  the  faculty  was  full  of  brilliant 
men  of  European  culture,  distinguished  or  soon  to  be 
in  various  lines  of  literature  and  research  ;  while  the 
vices  prevalent  at  Charlottesville  were  only  those  prev 
alent  all  over  the  continents  of  America  and  Europe 
at  the  time. 

A  sensitive  youth,  impressionable  to  all  the  fashions 
of  the  day,  and  surrounded  by  a  social  circle  that 
thought  convivial  drinking  and  card-playing  "At 
Homes"  indispensable  to  remaining  at  all  in  polite 
society,  would  easily  fall  in  with  the  habits  of  his 
"  set,"  and  perhaps  cultivate  them  with  passion  and 
excess.  It  was  the  fault  of  the  time,  as  the  Essays  of 
Elia  and  the  contemporary  novels  will  show  to  any  one 
who  is  not  maliciously  predetermined  to  fix  these  vices 
on  Poe  alone. 

That  Poe  was  not  indifferent  to  the  advantages  of 
debate  and  of  literary  exercises  is  shown  by  his  signa 
ture  :  "Edgar  A.  Poe,  Secretary  Jefferson  Society," 
appended  to  the  Minutes  of  the  Jefferson  Literary 
Society.1  His  own  fine  gifts  of  elocution  were  noted 
even  when  he  was  a  child  and  continued  to  distinguish 
him  all  through  his  life,  in  public  as  well  as  in  private. 
Many  testimonials  attest  the  beauty  of  his  readings  and 
recitals  in  parlor  and  hall,  gifts  inherited  from  his 
mother,  who  was  both  musically  and  dramatically  en- 

1  It  is  well  to  add  that  some  doubt  has  been  thrown  on  the 
authenticity  of  this  signature. 


prevalent  at  C 
alent  all   <• 
at  the 



"  Edgar 


dowed  ;  and  these  gifts  were  doubtless  exercised  in  the 
halls  of  the  Jefferson  Society  where  so  many  future 
Congressmen  and  legislators  were  his  compeers  and 

The  following  extracts  from  the  Faculty  Minutes  of 
December,  1826,  give  the  finishing  touch  to  Poe's 
career  at  the  University  of  Virginia  : 

At   a  meeting  of  the   Faculty,   December   I5th, 

"  Mr.  Long  made  a  report  of  the  examination  of  the 
classes  belonging  to  the  School  of  Ancient  Languages, 
and  the  names  of  the  students  who  excelled  at  the  ex 
amination  of  these  classes  : 

Senior  Latin   Class : 

GESSNER  HARRISON  of  Rockingham. 
ALBERT  L.  HOLLADAY  of  Spottsylvania. 
BERTHIER  JONES  of  Amelia. 
EDGAR  A.  POE  of  Richmond  City. 
etc.,  etc.,  etc." 

"  The  names  of  the  students  who  excelled  in  the 
Senior  French  Class  as  reported  by  the  Professor  of 
Modern  Languages  were  as  follows  : 

PHILIP  ST.  GEORGE  AMBLER  of  Richmond  City. 

JOHN  GARY  of  Campbell. 

GESSNER  HARRISON  of  Rockingham. 

WM.  MICHIE  of  Hanover. 

CONWAY  NUTT  of  Culpepper. 

EDGAR  A.    POE  of  Richmond  City. 

WM.  SELDEN  of  Norfolk. 

HENRY  TUTWILER  of  Rockingham." 


Thus  Poe's  University  career  was  crowned  with 
scholastic  honors  in  the  particular  studies  which  he 
"elected"  to  pursue.  He  was  only  seventeen  years  of 
age,  an  orphan,  the  foster-son  of  a  man  who  in  the  last 
six  months  had  inherited  a  fortune  :  a  child  supremely 
gifted  with  the  excitable  poet's  temperament  and 
therefore  easily  urged  to  nervous  excess,  thrown  sud 
denly,  a  mere  boy,  into  the  free-and-easy  set  of  Uni 
versity  students  over  whom,  at  the  time,  no  restraints 
had  been  set.  The  wonder  is  that  Edgar  Poe  did  not 
turn  out  a  complete  reprobate  instead  of  being  men 
tioned  in  the  final  examination  reports  as  "  distin 
guished  ' '  in  Latin  and  French.  During  the  next 
three  or  four  years  he  still  further  distinguished  himself 
by  publishing  three  volumes  of  poems  at  eighteen,  nine 
teen,  and  twenty-one  years  of  age  respectively,  the 
product  of  these  so-called  dissipated  years  when  he  was 
supposed  to  be  doing  little  or  nothing.  Ill-fitted  as 
he  was,  yet,  for  his  life-work,  undisciplined,  absolutely 
alone  in  the  world,  without  a  guiding  hand  to  direct 
and  lead  him,  the  object  of  a  capricious  charity  that 
might  at  any  time  instantaneously  be  withdrawn  —  as 
actually  happened  —  a  waif  from  the  start,  yet  with" 
influential  relations  who  never  seem  to  have  acknowl 
edged  him,  the  eccentric  lad  of  genius  developed  into 
the  sensitive  and  sarcastic  man  with  no  weapon  but  his 
tongue  and  pen,  urged  by  the  irresistible  force  of  his 
mind  to  write,  to  attempt  creative  work,  to  com 
pose  poems  from  his  tenth  year,  to  long  for  public 

Apparently  with  little  or  no  moral  training,  yet  with 
an  abnormal  consciousness  of  conscience,  the  boy  left  the 
University  to  return  to  a  home  whither,  as  one  of  his 
early  friends  significantly  remarks,  be  was  never  known 

f-       C" 
J      U- 


to  invite  even  his  most  intimate  friend,  in  the  sponta 
neity  of  boyish  friendship  ;  a  home  now  rendered  chill 
ing  and  inhospitable  from  the  rumors  of  his  escapades 
at  the  University,  which  he  was  soon  to  leave,  first  for 
the  Allan  counting-house  and  then  for  the  army,  in 
the  desperate  endeavor  to  work  out  for  himself  a  posi 
tion  and  a  career.  For  the  next  three  years  the  iron 
indeed  entered  into  the  soul  of  the  boy  ;  his  one  solace 
was  the  beautiful  gift  of  Poesy,  which  burst  all  bounds 
of  restraint  and  was  soon  to  revel  in  the  bold  and  fan 
ciful  lines  of  Al  Aaraaf. 




IN  the  life  of  nearly  every  literary  man  who  has 
occupied  a  conspicuous  position  in  the  world's  eye 
there  is  a  "  dark  period  "  —  a  period  of  eclipse,  obscu 
ration  or  hibernation —  during  which  he  mysteriously 
disappears,  as  the  religious  recluse  does  in  his  periodical 
"  retreat,"  and  is  lost  to  the  public  gaze.  The  literary 
historian  immediately  thinks  of  the  seasons  of  obscura 
tion  in  the  careers  of  Keats  and  Shelley,  of  Hugo  and 
Heine,  of  Coleridge  and  Gray,  of  Chateaubriand  and 
Gerard  de  Nerval  —  to  mention  only  a  few  modern 
instances  —  and  wonders  what  these  men  of  genius 
were  doing  in  the  eclipse-period. 

Poe  was  no  exception  to  a  very  general  rule.  The 
period  1827—1833  embraces  more  than  a  lustrum  of 
shadow  only  a  part  of  which  has  been  skilfully  illumi 
nated  by  Professor  Woodberry's  investigations. 

In  December,  1826,  Poe  graduated  in  Latin  and 
French  at  the  University  of  Virginia.  If  one  can  re 
gard  <f  A  Tale  of  the  Ragged  Mountains  "  as  at  all 
autobiographic  —  and  it  is  full  of  local  and  personal 
touches  that  cannot  but  be  regarded  as  such  —  he  writes 
at  the  beginning  of  this  tale  : 

"  During  the  fall  of  the  year  1827,  while  residing 
near  Charlottesville,  Virginia,  I  casually  made  the 
acquaintance  of  Mr.  Augustus  Bedloe." 


This  date  does  not  harmonize  by  a  few  months  with 
the  now  known  army  record  of  Poe,  but  it  seems  to 
show  that  he  was  at  least  in  Virginia  a  part  of  the 
year  1827.  The  current  account  is,  that  he  returned 
to  Richmond,  entered  Mr.  Allan's  counting-room, 
quarrelled  with  his  adopted  father  on  account  of  the 
large  "debts  of  honor  "  he  had  contracted  at  cards 
while  at  the  University,  and  left  the  Allan  home  in 
consequence.  • 

This  account  is  confirmed  by  Mr.  Allan  himself  in 
a  letter  dated  May  6,  1829,  in  which  he  says  : 

"  He  [Poe]  left  me  in  consequence  of  some  gam 
bling  at  the  University  at  Charlottesville,  because  (I 
presume)  I  refused  to  sanction  a  rule  that  the  shop 
keepers  and  others  had  adopted  there,  making  Debts 
of  Honour  of  all  indiscretions.  I  have  much  pleasure 
in  asserting  that  he  stood  his  examination  at  the  close 
of  the  year  with  great  credit."  l 

The  second  fact  of  importance  for  the  year  1827  is 
the  appearance  at  Boston,  probably  in  June,  of  a 
diminutive  volume  :  "  Tamerlane  and  Other  Poems. 
By  a  Bostonian :  Boston  :  Calvin  F.  S.  Thomas  .  .  . 
Printer  "  :  "the  tiniest  of  tomes,  numbering,  inclusive 
of  titles  and  half-titles,  omy  forty  pages,  and  measuring 
6^  by  4.^6  inches.  Its  diminutiveness  "  (continues 
Mr.  R.  H.  Shepherd),  "probably  quite  as  much  as 
the  fact  that  it  was  '  suppressed  through  circumstances 
of  a  private  nature,'  accounts  for  its  almost  entire  dis 
appearance.  The  motto  on  the  title-page  purports 
to  be  from  Cowper  :  that  from  Martial,  which  closes 
the  Preface  (Nos  baec  novimus  esse  nib'il}  was,  by  a 
curious  coincidence,  the  very  same  that  figured  on  the 

1  Woodberry,  Life,  p.  42. 
VOL.  I.  —  5 

66  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

title-page  of  Alfred  and  Charles  Tennyson's  Louth 

"In  1827,  when  the  little  Tamerlane  booklet  was 
thus  modestly  ushered  into  the  world,  Poe  had  not 
yet  attained  his  nineteenth  year.  Both  in  promise  and 
in  actual  performance,  it  may  claim  to  rank  as  the  most 
remarkable  production  that  any  English-speaking  and 
English-writing  poet  of  this  century  has  published  in 
his  teens.  « 

"  In  this  earliest  form  of  it  the  poem  which  gives  its 
chief  title  to  the  little  volume  is  divided  into  seventeen 
sections,  of  irregular  length,  containing  a  total  of  406 
lines.  '  Tamerlane  '  was  afterwards  remodelled  and 
rewritten,  from  beginning  to  end,  and  in  its  final  form, 
as  it  appeared  in  the  author's  edition  of  1845,  is 
divided  into  twenty-three  sections,  containing  a  total 
of  243  lines.  Eleven  explanatory  prose  notes  are 
added,  which  disappear  in  all  subsequent  editions.  .  .  . 
Of  the  nine  '  Fugitive  Pieces  '  which  follow,  only 
three,  and  these  in  a  somewhat  altered  form,  were 
included  by  the  author  in  his  later  collection.  The 
remaining  six  have  never  been  reprinted  in  book  form  " 
[this  was  in  I884].1 

This  precious  little  volume,  only  forty  copies  of 
which  are  said  to  have  been  printed,  was  published  by 
the  nineteen-year-old  printer,  Calvin  F.  S.  Thomas, 
then  living  in  Boston.  Thomas  afterwards  moved 
West  and  died,  probably  in  Springfield,  Mo.,  in  1876, 
without  being  aware  that  he  had  ushered  into  the  world 
the  most  unique  specimen  of  American  poetic  genius. 

1  Tamerlane  and  Other  Poems.  By  Edgar  Allan  Poe.  First 
Published  at  Boston  in  1827  and  now  First  Republished  from  a 
Unique  Copy  of  the  Original  Edition,  with  a  Preface.  By  Richard 
Herne  Shepherd.  London  :  George  Redway  :  MDCCCLXXXIV. 




Young  heads  are  giddy  and  young  beam  are  warm 
And  make  mistakes  for  manhood  to  reform. 





x.  ^  ' 


The  poor  little  volume  is  now  one  of  the  bibliophile's 
"nuggets,"  and  a  copy  of  it,  going,  at  the  McKee 
sale  in  November,  1900,  for  $2050,  was  immediately 
resold  to  Mr.  F.  R.  Halsey  at  an  advance  of  $500. 

Poe  must  have  had  these  poems  in  his  portfolio  long 
before  he  went  to  the  University  ;  some  of  them  he 
claims  to  have  written  when  he  was  ten  years  old,  — 
consequently  when  he  was  a  pupil  at  Dr.  Bransby's 
School.  In  their  crude  boyish  metres  one  can  feel  the 
dancing  Ariel  spirit  of  his  mother  taking  form  in  verse 
and  reincarnating  itself,  Morella-like,  in  the  work  of 
the  child.  The  elements  of  strangeness  and  beauty 
were  all  there  ;  quaintness  and  witchery  echo  from 
"those  unusual  strings,"  and  the  harp  of  Israfel  is 
already  attuning  itself  to  extraordinary  harmonies. 

The  boy  of  eighteen  writes  the  following  Preface : 
"  The  greater  part  of  the  Poems  which  compose  this 
little  volume  were  written  in  the  year  1821-22,  when 
the  author  had  not  completed  his  fourteenth  year. 
They  were  of  course  not  intended  for  publication  ;  why 
they  are  now  published  concerns  no  one  but  himself. 
Of  the  smaller  pieces  very  little  need  be  said  :  they 
perhaps  savour  too  much  of  egotism  ;  but  they  were 
written  by  one  too  young  to  have  any  knowledge  of 
the  world  but  from  his  own  breast. 

"In  'Tamerlane'  he  has  endeavoured  to  expose 
the  folly  of  even  risking  the  best  feelings  of  the  heart 
at  the  shrine  of  Ambition.  He  is  conscious  that  in 
this  there  are  many  faults  (besides  that  of  the  general 
character  of  the  poem),  which  he  flatters  himself  he 
could,  with  little  trouble,  have  corrected,  but  unlike 
many  of  his  predecessors,  he  has  been  too  fond  of  his 
early  productions  to  amend  them  in  his  old  age. 

(t  We  will  not   say  that  he  is  indifferent  as  to  the 


success  of  these  Poems  —  it  might  stimulate  him  to 
other  attempts  —  but  he  can  safely  assert  that  failure 
will  not  at  all  influence  him  in  a  resolution  already 
adopted.  This  is  challenging  criticism  —  let  it  be  so. 
Nos  baec  novimus  esse  nibil. ' ' 

This  was  the  first  of  those  defiant  Prefaces  which 
all  his  life  after  Poe  was  flinging  like  gauntlets  in  the 
faces  of  his  critics  :  the  attitude  of  one  at  bay,  even 
then,  in  his  teens. 

"The  soul,  which  knows  such  power,  will  still 
Find  Pride  the  ruler  of  its  will  — ' ' 

a  couplet  imitated,  consciously  or  unconsciously,  by 
Cardinal  Newman  in  his  famous  "Lead,  Kindly 
Light"  ("  Pride  ruled  my  will :  remember  not  past 
days").  It  gives  the  fundamental  note  of  "Tam 
erlane,"  whose  vagueness  is  also  Poesque  in  its  Ossianic 
nebulosity.  It  is  full  of  Moore  and  Byron  ("the 
sound  of  revelry  by  night ' '  actually  occurs  imbedded 
in  the  text,  without  quotation-marks)  ;  its  metre  is 
the  ancient  octosyllable  of  Gower  and  the  pre-Chau- 
cerians,  as  if  the  lad  had  unconsciously  reverted  to 
ancestral  musical  conditions ;  dreams,  mysteries, 
blighted  hopes,  blasted  expectations,  visions  of  the 
night,  terrors  and  tremblings,  well  up  artificially  or 
otherwise  in  the  boy's  imagination  and  point  pro 
phetically  —  almost  mockingly  —  to  his  future.  A 
fitful  melody,  windlike  in  its  aerial  waywardness,  flits 
through  couplet  and  stanza  and  recalls  the  melodious 
friction  of  the  air  on  the  strings  of  a  viol  :  a  sigh,  a 
murmuring  of  the  waves,  a  whispering  of  parted  lips, 
an  elegy  breathing  from  the  tremulous  pine-tops,  could 
hardly  be  more  faint,  sprite-like,  poetical  than  this 
zephyr-like  music,  this  disembodied  passion,  these 


almost  inorganic  harmonies  that  each  take  a  line  as  an 
oaten  reed  and  utter  silken  cadences  half  song,  half 
soliloquy.  This  little  book  is  more  like  some  extraor 
dinary  child-musician's  improvisations  than  anything 
else  :  shell-like  murmurings,  indefinite,  unreal,  almost 
spectral  shadows  of  song  here  run  up  and  down  the 
keys  with  their  flitting  golden  tones,  now  crushing  all 
the  wayward  sweetness  out  of  a  trampled  chord,  now 
up  and  away  through  the  ascending  diapason  of  some 
chance-struck  air,  melting  into  the  "  choir  invisible.'* 
Trouble,  passion,  poignant  regret  are  already  there  — 
tumult  of  soul  and  body,  uneasy  visionings,  phantasy 
surcharged  with  intimations  of  the  supernatural,  scorn, 
contempt,  rebellion,  angel  pride,  the  "ill  demons  " 
of  the  latter  day  already  foreshadowed  in  the  plaintive 
susurrus  of  many  a  line,  occur  in  •'«  Tamerlane  and 
Other  Poems  ' '  in  the  fitful,  unsubstantial  flickerings 
of  the  phantasy  of  a  gifted  and  unhappy  boy  who  finds 
himself  caught  in  print  —  a  Swanhilda  without  her 
magic  raiment  —  and  wails  in  vain  for  the  recovery  of 
his  incognito. 

Another  fact  of  vital  importance  for  the  year  1827 
was  Poe's  enlistment  at  Boston  in  the  army  of  the 
United  States  under  the  assumed  name  of  Edgar  A. 
Perry :  a  fact  established  by  Professor  Woodberry 
through  Mr.  Robert  Lincoln,  Secretary  of  War,  and 
Adjutant- General  Drum.  This  occurred  in  May, 
about  the  time  of  the  publication  of  the  Poems,  and 
opens  up  one  of  the  most  honorable  vistas  in  this  short 
and  tragic  life.  Poe  may  have  been  attracted  to  the 
army  and,  afterward,  to  West  Point,  from  the  fact  of 
the  University  of  Virginia  having  established  a  system 
of  military  drill  in  1826,  and  from  the  further  fact  of 
one  of  his  class-mates,  John  B.  Magruder  (afterwards 

70  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

the  well-known  Confederate  general)  having  left  the 
University  that  year  for  West  Point. 

"The  examination  of  documents  "  (says  Professor 
Woodberry,  in  "  The  Atlantic  Monthly  "  for  Decem 
ber,  1884)  "both  at  Washington  and  elsewhere  has 
been  exhaustive.  From  these  papers  it  appears  that 
on  May  26,  1827,  Poe  enlisted  at  Boston  in  the  army 
of  the  United  States  as  a  private  soldier,  under  the 
name  of  Edgar  A.  Perry.  He  stated  that  he  was 
born  at  Boston,  and  was  by  occupation  a  clerk  ;  and 
although  minors  were  then  accepted  into  the  service, 
he  gave  his  age  as  twenty-two  years.  He  had,  says 
the  record,  gray  eyes,  brown  hair,  and  a  fair  com 
plexion  ;  was  five  feet  eight  inches  in  height.  He 
was  at  once  assigned  to  Battery  H  of  the  First  Artil 
lery,  then  serving  in  the  harbor  at  Fort  Independence  ; 
on  October  3 1  the  battery  was  ordered  to  Fort  Moul- 
trie,  Charleston,  S.  C.,  and  exactly  one  year  later  to 
Fortress  Monroe,  Virginia.  The  officers  under  whom 
he  served  are  dead,  but  it  appears  that  he  discharged 
his  duties  as  company  clerk  and  assistant  in  the  com 
missariat  department  so  as  to  win  the  goodwill  of  his 
superiors.  On  January  i,  1829,  he  was  appointed 
Sergeant-Major,  a  promotion  which,  by  the  invariable 
custom  of  the  army,  was  given  only  for  merit.  He 
now  made  his  circumstances  known  to  Mr.  Allan,  and 
shortly  after  Mrs.  Allan's  death,  February  28,  1829, 
he  returned  to  Richmond  on  leave  of  absence.  Of 
this  furlough  there  is  no  record,  but  on  February  28 
he  is  reported  on  the  rolls  as  present  for  duty." 

The  only  discrepancy  with  the  facts  in  this  account 
is  that  of  his  personal  appearance  :  he  had  black  hair 
and  a  dark,  clear,  olive  complexion,  instead  of  the 
"brown  hair  and  fair  complexion"  of  the  army  de 


This  account  is  further  absolutely  authenticated  by 
the  letters  of  Colonel  James  House,  Adjutant-General 
Lowndes,  Lieutenant-Colonel  Worth,  Captain  Gris- 
wold,  and  Lieutenant  Howard,  three  of  whom  were 
connected  with  the  same  regiment  and  one  was  com 
mandant  of  Fortress  Monroe. 

The  most  gratifying  feature  of  this  discovery  is  that 
it  not  only  eliminates  from  his  biography  the  wild 
stories  about  Poe's  journey  to  Europe  in  the  cause  of 
the  Greeks,  the  escapade  at  St.  Petersburg,  and  the 
romance  of  the  French  duel,  novel,  etc.,  but  that  it 
unfolds  an  admirable  record  of  unblemished  conduct, 
prompt  and  faithful  performance  of  military  duties, 
freedom  from  bad  habits,  and  the  unhesitating  recom 
mendation  of  his  superior  officers.  Lieutenant  Howard 
admiringly  writes  of  his  "  unexceptionable  conduct  " 
and  his  excellence  as  a  clerk  :  "his  habits  are  good, 
and  entirely  free  from  drinking. ' ' 

Captain  Griswold  testifies  that  "up  to  this  date" 
(Jan.  i,  1829),  "he  has  been  exemplary  in  his  de 
portment,  prompt  and  faithful  in  the  discharge  of  his 
duties  —  and  is  highly  worthy  of  confidence. " 

Colonel  Worth,  in  command  of  Fortress  Monroe, 
adds :  "I  have  known  and  had  an  opportunity  of 
observing  the  conduct  of  the  above-mentioned  Sergeant- 
Major  Poe  some  three  months  during  which  his  de 
portment  has  been  highly  praiseworthy  and  deserving 
of  confidence.  His  education  is  of  a  very  high  order 
and  he  appears  to  be  free  from  bad  habits,  in  fact  the 
testimony  of  Lieutenant  Howard  and  Adjutant  Gris 
wold  is  full  to  that  point.  Understanding  he  is,  thro' 
his  friends,  an  applicant  for  cadet's  warrant,  I  unhesi 
tatingly  recommend  him  as  promising  to  acquit  himself 
of  the  obligation  of  that  station  studiously  and  faith- 

72  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

Poe,  having  according  to  the  army  requirements 
procured  a  substitute,  was  honorably  discharged  from 
the  service  April  1 5,  with  this  splendid  record  of  silent 
and  devoted  service  testified  to  by  his  army  associates. 
The  wayward,  spoiled,  impulsive  boy  had  in  two 
years  turned  out  to  be  the  conscientious,  exemplary 
soldier  —  a  sergeant-major  in  his  twentieth  year.  It 
is  delightful  indeed  to  substitute  these  creditable  facts 
for  the  feverish  romance  and  fabulous  gossip  of  con 
temporaries  who  doubtless  applied  to  Poe  some  of  the 
adventures  said  to  have  occurred  to  his  gifted  but  un 
fortunate  elder  brother,  William  Henry  Leonard,  who 
was  a  cadet  in  the  navy  and  who  died  in  July,  1831. 

Brilliant  reminiscences  of  Poe's  service  in  the  army 
adhere  to  his  South  Carolina  romance,  "The  Gold- 
Bug,"  to  the  "  Balloon  Hoax,"  and  to  the  humorous 
"Man  that  was  Used  Up." 

Through  these  two  eventful  years,  too,  "  Al  Aaraaf 
and  Minor  Poems  "  was  ripening  in  the  young  sol 
dier's  brain  and  showing  the  ideal  side  of  the  mechani 
cal  routine  of  the  army.  These  shadowy  years  have 
left  their  crystalline  deposit  in  poems,  in  which  an  in 
creasing  purpose,  a  maturer  power,  a  richer  and  less 
adumbrated  imagination,  a  finer  metrical  skill  are  ap 
parent.  Perhaps  the  precision  of  the  army  routine  had 
something  to  do  with  the  growing  precision  of  Poe's 
style,  a  precision  which  grew  on  him  while  he  lived 
and  which  is  sometimes  in  his  more  faultless  prose 
almost  painful.  His  intense  feeling  for  rhythm  may 
have  been  energized  by  the  measured  tread  of  soldiers' 
feet,  the  martial  regularity  of  all  their  movements,  the 
inflexible  order  of  their  evolutions,  the  symmetry  of 
whatever  they  did. 

While  the  West  Point  project  was  maturing  in  his 


mind  and  purpose,  he  went  to  Baltimore,  became  more 
fully  acquainted  with  his  Maryland  kindred,  and  was 
introduced  to  William  Gwynn,  editor  of  "  The 
Federal  Gazette  and  Baltimore  Daily  Advertiser,"  to 
whom  he  showed  the  MS.  of  «'  Al  Aaraaf."  About 
this  MS.  he  fell  into  correspondence  with  John  Neal 
of  Boston,  then  editor  of  "The  Yankee  and  Boston 
Literary  Gazette,"  a  man  who  proved  a  lifelong  friend 
of  the  penniless  author  and  who  gave  him  through  the 
columns  of  "The  Yankee  "  excellent  literary  advice. 
The  communications  between  author  and  editor  ap 
peared  in  the  new  series,  iii,  168,  and  vi.  295—298, 
and  the  journal  contains  two  poems  by  Poe  not  hitherto 
found  in  any  collected  edition  of  his  works.  One  of 
them  is  called  "  The  Magician  "  and  is  as  follows  : 


Magician  — 

Thou  dark,  sea-stirring  Storm, 

Whence  comest  thou  in  thy  might  ? 
Nay  ;  wait,  thou  dim  and  weary  form, 

Storm-spirit,  I  call  thee  —  't  is  mine  of  right, 

Arrest  thee  in  thy  troubled  flight. 

Storm-Spirit  — 

Thou  askest  me  whence  I  came,  — 
I  came  o'er  the  sleeping  sea  ; 

It  roused  at  my  torrent  of  storm  and  flame, 
And  howled  aloud  in  its  agony, 
And  swelled  to  the  sky  —  that  sleepy  sea. 

Thou  askest  me  what  I  met  — 
A  ship  from  the  Indian  shore  ; 

74  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

A  tall,  proud  ship  with  her  sails  all  set, 
Far  down  in  the  sea  that  ship  I  bore 
My  storm's  wild  rushing  wings  before. 

And  her  men  will  forever  lie 
Below  the  unquiet  sea  ; 

And  tears  will  dim  full  many  an  eye 

Of  those  who  shall  widows  and  orphans  be, 
And  their  days  be  years  —  for  their  misery. 

A  boat  with  a  starving  crew, 

For  hunger  they  starved  and  swore, 

While  the  blood  from  a  fellow's  veins  they  drew, 
I  came  upon  them  with  rush  and  roar  — 
Far  under  the  waves  that  boat  I  bore. 

Two  ships  in  a  fearful  fight, 

Where  a  hundred  guns  did  flash : 

I  came  upon  them  —  no  time  for  flight, 
But  under  the  sea  their  timbers  crash, 
And  over  their  guns  the  wild  waves  dash. 

A  wretch  on  a  single  plank, 

And  I  tossed  him  on  the  shore  ; 

A  night  and  a  day  of  the  sea  he  drank, 

But  the  wearied  wretch  to  the  land  I  bore, 
And  now  he  walketh  the  earth  once  more. 

Magician  — 

Storm-spirit,  go  on  thy  path  !  — 

The  spirit  has  spread  his  wings, 
And  comes  on  the  sea  with  a  rush  of  wrath, 

As  a  war-horse  when  he  springs ; 
And  over  the  earth  —  nor  stop  nor  stay  — 
The  winds  of  the  Storm  King  go  out  on  their  way. 

AL    A  ATI  A  AT"j 







"  Early  in  1829  "  (says  Mr.  E.  L.  Didier,  in  his 
Biography,  p.  39)  "  we  find  Poe  in  Baltimore,  with 
a  manuscript  volume  of  verses,  which  in  a  few  months 
was  published  in  a  thin  octavo,  bound  in  boards, 
crimson  sprinkled,  with  yellow  linen  back.  .  .  .  The 
Peabody  Library  of  Baltimore  has  a  copy  of  this  rare 
volume,  which  I  have  carefully  examined.  It  num 
bers  seventy-one  pages.  On  the  sixth  page  is  the 
Dedication  : 

"  f  Who  drinks  the  deepest?  Here's  to  him.' 
'  Al  Aaraaf  is  printed  the  same  as  now,  except 
eight  unimportant  verbal  changes.  <  Tamerlane,'  which 
is  dedicated  to  John  Neal,  is  preceded  by  an  advertise 
ment,  as  follows :  '  This  poem  was  printed  for  publi 
cation  in  Boston,  in  the  year  1827,  but  suppressed 
through  circumstances  of  a  private  nature.'  There  is 
only  one  word  changed  in  the  whole  poem.  After 
'  Tamerlane  '  follow  nine  miscellaneous  poems,  all  of 
which,  with  the  exception  of  the  first  and  part  of  the 
eighth,  are  in  the  last  editions  of  Poe' s  works.  The 
first  of  these  miscellaneous  poems  consists  of  four  stan 
zas,  and  is  headed  '  To .'  It  has  never  been 

reprinted  in  full,  but  the  third  stanza  contains  the  germ 
of 'A  Dream  within  a  Dream.'  " 

"The  book"  (adds  Mr.  Didier)  "was  printed  by 
Matchett  &  Woods,  who  printed  the  Baltimore  City 
Directory  for  nearly  half  a  century.'* 

So  far  from  there  being  "only  one  word  changed" 
in  the  "Tamerlane,"  it  was  entirely  rewritten. 

Of  "Al  Aaraaf"  the  critics  have  made  a  nine 
days'  wonder :  its  melodious  incoherence  has  left  it  a 
jumble  of  jewelled  words  that  have  caught  their  irides 
cence  partly  from  Moore  and  partly  from  the  inconse 
quence  and  nebulous  radiance  of  the  poet's  nascent 

76  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

fancy.  Poe  himself  says,  in  his  letter  to  Neal,  "CA1 
Aaraaf'1  has  some  good  poetry,  and  much  extrava 
gance,  which  I  have  not  had  time  to  throw  away. 
<A1  Aaraaf  is  a  tale  of  another  world  —  the  star  dis 
covered  by  Tycho  Brahe,  which  appeared  and  disap 
peared  so  suddenly  —  or  rather,  it  is  no  tale  at  all." 
It  is  indeed  a  tale  —  with  the  "tale"  left  out. 

It  was  unfavorably  reviewed  by  the  Baltimore 
"  Minerva  and  Emerald  "  edited  by  J.  H.  Hewitt  and 
Rufus  Dawes,  the  latter  of  whom  Poe  remembered 
later  among  those  whom  he  flagellated  in  "  Minor 

1  "  *  Al  Araf,'  or  '  Al  Aaraaf,'  as  the  poet  preferred  styling  it, 
is  designed  by  the  Mahommedan  imagination  as  an  abode  wherein 
a  gentle  system  of  purgatory  is  instituted  for  the  benefit  of  those 
who,  though  too  good  for  hell,  ere  not  fitted  for  heaven."  — 
Ingram,  I.,  78. 




AT    WEST    POINT.     THE    POEMS    OF    1831. 

AT  the  beginning  of  1829,  the  beloved  first  Mrs. 
Allan  (Miss  F.  K.  Valentine,  cousin  of  the  sculptor) 
died,  February  28,  leaving  Poe  bereft  of  his  truest 
friend.  It  is  said  that  he  reached  Richmond  the  day 
after  her  burial,  which  took  place  at  Shockoe  Hill 
Cemetery,  where  a  fitting  memorial  stone  was  erected 
to  her  memory  by  her  husband. 

Not  many  months  after  this  Mr.  Allan  (after  ad 
dressing  Miss  Anne  Valentine,  sister  of  his  deceased 
wife,  and  being  rejected)  was  united  in  marriage,  Oc 
tober  5,  1830,  to  Miss  Louisa  Gabriella  Patterson  of 
New  York,  of  whom  the  following  authentic  sketch 
has  been  kindly  furnished  the  writer  by  a  member  of 
the  lady' s  family  : 

"  Mrs.  Louisa  Gabriella  Allan  was  born  in  the  City 
of  New  York,  March  24,  1800.  Her  mother  was 
Miss  Louisa  De  Hart,  daughter  of  John  De  Hart,  a 
member  of  the  Continental  Congress  of  1774—76 
from  New  Jersey,  Attorney- General  of  his  State,  a 
lawyer  of  great  distinction  and  a  man  of  large  means 
and  influence.  Her  father  was  Mr.  John  William  Pat 
terson,  a  lawyer  of  New  York,  a  son  of  Capt.  John 
Patterson  of  the  English  army  who  married  Catharine 
Livingston  of  Livingston  Manor,  N.  Y.,  and  was  the 


first  U.  S.  Collector  of  the  port  of  Philadelphia  after 
the  Revolution.  Mrs.  Allan  was  a  niece  of  Mrs. 
Col.  John  Mayo  (nee  De  Hart)  of  Belleville  near 
Richmond,  and  it  was  when  on  a  visit  to  her  aunt 
that  she  first  met  Mr.  Allan,  who  became  at  once 
very  much  enamoured  with  her  and  subsequently 
married  her  at  her  father' s  house  in  New  York  City, 
October  5,  1830.  Mrs.  Allan  was  a  lady  of  much 
stateliness  and  dignity,  and  of  great  firmness  and  de 
cision  of  character,  very  clannish  in  her  feelings,  and 
while  apparently  very  calm  and  reserved  in  manner, 
had  one  of  the  warmest  hearts  in  the  world,  was  a  firm 
and  steadfast  friend  and  profuse  in  concealed  and  un 
ostentatious  charities.  She  had  three  children,  all  sons 
—  John,  William  Gait,  and  Patterson,  all  of  whom 
died  during  her  life,  —  John  leaving  two  children, 
Hoffman  Allan  now  of  Danville,  Va.,  and  Louisa  G., 
now  Mrs.  W.  R.  Pryor  of  New  York.  William  G. 
left  no  issue.  Patterson  had  two  children,  Genevieve, 
now  Mrs.  Dwight  Montague,  and  John,  who  died 
young.  After  her  sons  became  of  age  Mrs.  Allan's 
house  was  the  centre  of  Richmond  hospitality,  and  the 
beauty  and  frequency  of  her  entertainments  were  pro 
verbial  and  few  visitors  of  prominence  failed  to  par 
take  of  them,  but  while  the  acknowledged  leader  in 
society  her  prominent  characteristics  were  unaltered. 
She  was  the  fond  mother,  cherished  friend,  and  quiet 
dispenser  of  many  charities,  not  impulsive  but  con 
stantly  flowing,  and  many  a  home  of  her  impoverished 
friends  has  been  blest  by  her  thoughtful  considera 
tion  and  practical  affection.  Mrs.  Allan  was  of  mas 
culine  personality  and  of  so  much  impressiveness  and 
attraction  that  few  who  met  can  forget  her  ;  and  though 
the  war  had  to  a  great  extent  swept  away  her  wealth, 

MRS.  JOHN  ALLAN,  20. 

From  a  small,  white  marble  bust  carved  in  Naples,  here  reproduced 
by  the  courtesy  of  Mrs.  G.  W.  Mayo,  Mrs.  Allan's  niece. 



and  the  death  of  loved  ones  saddened  her  life,  she  yet 
remained  the  same  lovely,  dignified,  and  respected  lady 
to  the  end,  which  occurred  April  24,  1881,  forty- 
seven  years  after  the  death  of  her  beloved  husband,  by 
whose  side  she  now  lies  in  Shockoe  Hill  Cemetery." 

In  securing  the  West  Point  position  —  which  then 
commanded  a  salary  of  $28  a  month,  besides  subsist 
ence  and  instruction  —  Poe  was  fortunate  in  obtaining 
letters  from  Mr.  A.  Stevenson,  speaker  of  the  House 
of  Representatives,  and  three  eminent  Virginians,  John 
Campbell,  James  P,  Preston,  and  Powhatan  Ellis, 
senator  from  Mississippi,  uncle  of  Col.  Thomas  H. 
Ellis,  who  furnished  us  with  the  interesting  recollections 
in  Chapter  I.  These  were  supplemented  and  rein 
forced  by  letters  from  Mr.  Allan  to  Major  John  Eaton, 
then  Secretary  of  War. 

The  appointment  was  really  due  to  Senator  Ellii.. 

The  reason  why  Mr.  Ellis  became  interested  in  Poe 
vvas  that  he  was  a  younger  brother  of  Mr.  Allan's 
partner,  and  Mr.  Allan  would  naturally  mention  to 
50  influential  an  acquaintance  his  desire  to  get  Edgar 
the  appointment.  While  waiting  for  the  appointment, 
Poe  had  passed  the  legal  age  of  twenty-one ;  but  he 
did  not  scruple  to  report  his  age  as  nineteen  years  and 
five  months. 

So  July  i,  1830,  he  entered  the  Academy  at  West 
Point,  which  had  been  founded  in  1802  and  was  con 
sidered  a  most  desirable  opening  for  a  penniless  young 
man  on  account  of  the  income  of  $336  (afterwards 
increased  to  $540)  attached  to  a  cadetship,  and  the 
possibility  of  a  rapid  rise  in  the  profession.  Poe  had 
martial  blood  in  his  veins  ;  he  had  had  two  years  of 
admirable  practical  training  in  the  artillery  branch  of 


the  service  ;  he  was  an  excellent  mathematician  and 
linguist ;  and  there  was  every  reason  to  hope  that  he 
would  ultimately  attain  the  rank  of  his  grandfather, 
Quartermaster-General  Poe. 

The  years  1829  and  1830  were  very  stirring  ones 
in  the  ancient  Commonwealth  of  Virginia.  In  1829 
the  famous  Convention  to  revise  the  Constitution  as 
sembled  in  Richmond,  and  included  among  its  num 
ber  more  distinguished  men  than  any  other  public  body 
perhaps  that  ever  assembled  in  the  United  States. 
Among  these  were  ex-presidents  Madison  and  Monroe, 
Chief  Justice  Marshall,  John  Randolph  of  Roanoke, 
and  a  host  of  other  famous  Virginians  who  made  the 
little  town  ring  with  their  eloquence,  and  all  through 
the  winter  of  1829-30  elaborated  changes  in  the  Con 
stitution  connected  with  the  suffrage  and  other  im 
portant  questions.  The  lobbies  of  the  old  State-house 
(planned  by  Jefferson)  and  the  inns  on  Main  and 
Broad  Streets  hummed  with  voices  discussing  the 
momentous  questions  of  statecraft ;  the  streets  and 
private  houses  were  full  of  historic  figures  come  to  lend 
their  aid  in  settling  the  vexed  questions  ;  and  Poe 
doubtless  heard  many  a  voice  that  had  been  listened  to 
in  Revolutionary  times  as  the  Convention  proceeded 
with  its  order  of  business.  Gentlemen  in  tie-wigs, 
knee-buckles,  and  black  stocks  were  seen  everywhere; 
and  it  was  a  resurrection  of  the  olden  times. 

The  atmosphere  of  West  Point  was  very  different 
from  the  bland  and  genial  social  environment  of  Rich 
mond  with  its  freedom  from  restraints,  its  air  of  uni 
versal  bonhomie  and  relationship  — -  everybody  was  a 
tf  Virginia  cousin  "  to  everybody  else  —  its  social  card- 
playing,  drinking,  smoking,  and  leisurely  practice  of 
the  professions. 


The  Academy  occupied  the  site  of  a  ruined  fortress 
captured  by  the  British  in  the  War  of  Independence, 
and  towered  aloft  on  a  plateau  nearly  two  hundred  feet 
above  the  Hudson  in  a  scene  of  landscape  beauty 
almost  unrivalled.  Instead  of  the  social  relaxation  of 
Richmond,  a  rigorous  discipline  reminded  the  nearly 
three  hundred  young  men  that  there  were  three  hun 
dred  offences  scheduled  for  which  they  could  be 
punished;  that  they  had  "signed"  for  five  years  as 
servants  of  the  United  States  ;  and  that  for  the  four 
years'  course  they  could  hope  only  for  ten  weeks' 
vacation  in  all.  It  was  even  whispered  around  that 
less  than  half  of  those  who  hopefully  entered  on  the 
courses  ever  graduated. 

A  remarkable  assemblage  of  young  men  were  gath 
ered  at  West  Point  the  half-year  Poe  was  there,  among 
them  the  following  : 

WEST  POINT  IN  1830  :i 

[To  the  names  given  below,  annotated  by  General  Wilson,  may 
be  added  that  of  Thomas  H.  Williamson,  Va.,  many  years  pro 
fessor,  with  Stonewall  Jackson  and  Commodore  M.  F.  Maury,  at 
the  Virginia  Military  Institute  :  appointed  General  by  the  Governor 
of  Virginia.] 

Class  of  1830,    U.  S.  M.  A. 

Rev.  Francis  Vinton,  D.D.,  of  Rhode  Island.  Distin 
guished  clergyman  of  the  P.  E.  Church.  No.  4  in 
his  class.  Died  in  1872. 

1  This  list  has  been  kindly  compiled  for  this  work  by  Cadet 
W.  D.  A.  Anderson  of  West  Point ;  and  the  biographical  memo 
randa  have  been  supplied  by  General  James  Grant  Wilson   to  whom 
thanks  are  returned  for  the  courtesy. 
VOL,  I. -—6 

82  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

Rev.  W.  N.  Pendleton,  of  Va.  No.  5  in  his  class.  Be 
came  a  General  in  the  Confederate  Service.  Died  in 

Brevet  Lieut. -Col.  John  B.  Magruder,  of  Va.  Served 
in  the  Mexican  War,  and  became  a  General  in  the 
Confederate  Army.  Died  1871. 

Brig. -Gen.  Robert  C.  Buchanan,  of  Md.  Served  with 
distinction  in  the  Mexican  and  Civil  Wars.  Died  in 

Class  of  i8ji. 

Rev.  Roswell  Park,  D.D.,  of  Ct.  Distinguished  Clergy 
man,  Professor,  and  Poet.  Graduated  No.  i  in  his 
class,  and  resigned  from  the  army  in  1835.  Died  in 

Gen.  Jacob  Ammen,  of  Va.  (Brig. -Gen.  of  Vols.).  In 
timate  friend  of  General  Grant.  Died  in  1894. 

Brevet  Major-Gen.  Andrew  A.  Humphreys,  of  Pa. 
Served  in  the  Mexican  and  Civil  Wars.  Chief  of 
Engineer  Corps.  Died  in  1883. 

Brevet  Major-Gen.  W.  H.  Emory,  of  Maryland.  Died 
in  1887. 

Samuel  R.  Curtis,  of  Ohio,  Major-Gen.  Vols.  Died 
in  1866. 

Class  of  1832. 

President  Benjamin  S.  Ewell,  of  D.  C.  Graduated  No. 
3  in  the  class.  Distinguished  General  in  the  Con 
federate  Army.  Died  in  1894. 

Brevet  Brig. -Gen.  Erasmus  D.  Keyes,  of  Mass.,  Major- 
Gen.  Vols.  and  Corps  Commander  Army  Potomac. 
Died  in  1895. 

Lieut.  Tench  Tilghman,  of  Md.  Became  General  in 
the  Confederate  Service.  Died  in  1874. 


Lieut.-Col.  George  B.  Crittenden,  of  Ky.,  son  of  U.  S. 
Senator  Crittenden.  Became  General  in  the  Confed 
erate  Army.  Died  in  1880. 

Brevet  Brig. -Gen.  Randolph  B.  Marcy,  of  Wash.  In 
spector-General  U.  S.  Army.  Daughter  married  Gen 
eral  McClellan.  Died  in  1887. 

Lieut.  Humphrey  Marshall,  of  Ky.  Colonel  of  Ken 
tucky  Volunteers  in  war  with  Mexico  and  General  in 
Confederate  Army.  Died  in  1872. 

Class  of  1833. 

Capt.  Frederic  A.  Smith,  of  Mass.  Graduated  at  the 
head  of  his  class.  Engineer  Officer  U.  S.  A.  Died 
in  1842. 

Major-General  John  G.  Barnard,  of  Mass,  zd  in  the 
class.  Distinguished  Engineer  Officer  in  the  Civil 
War  and  Author  of  Military  Monographs.  Died  in 
1882.  Brother  of  President  Barnard  of  Columbia 

Brevet  Major-Gen.  George  W.  Cullum,  of  New  York. 
3d  in  class.  Meritorious  Officer  of  Engineer  Corps 
and  military  author  who  left  $250,000  for  the  Cullum 
Memorial  at  West  Point.  Died  in  1892. 

Brig. -Gen.  Rufus  King,  U.  S.  V.,  of  New  York.  4th 
in  class.  Minister  to  Italy  and  Journalist.  Son  of 
President  Charles  King  of  Columbia.  Died  in  1876. 

Colonel  Francis  H.  Smith,  of  Virginia.  5th  in  class, 
Prof,  and  later  Superintendent  with  rank  of  General  in 
Virginia  Mil.  Institute.  General  in  the  Confederate 
Army.  Died  in  1890. 

Brevet  Lieut.-Col.  William  Bliss,  of  New  York,  gth  in 
class.  Served  in  Mexican  War.  Private  Secy,  and 
son-in-law  of  President  Taylor.  Died  in  1853.  (His 
widow,  Mrs.  Dandridge,  still  living.) 

84  .      EDGAR  ALLAN   POE. 

Brevet  Major-Gen.  Edmund  Schirer,  of  Pa.  Meritorious 
Officer  during  the  Civil  War.  Inspector  General 
U.  S.  A.  Died  1899. 

Brevet  Major-Gen.  Alexander  E.  Shiras,  of  Pa.  Meritori 
ous  Officer  Subsistence  Dept.  U.  S.  A.  Died  in  1875. 

Brevet  Brig. -Gen.  Benjamin  Alvord,  of  Vt.  Served  in 
the  Mexican  and  Civil  Wars.  Author  of  Essays  and 
Reviews.  Died  in  1884. 

Brevet  Brig. -Gen.  Henry  W.  Wessells,  of  Ct.  Died  in 

Colonel  Henry  L.  Scott,  of  N.  C.,  son-in-law  of  Gen. 
Winfield  Scott.  Died  in  1886. 

Brevet  Lieut. -Col.  Daniel  Ruggles,  of  Mass.  Served  in 
Mexican  War,  and  General  in  the  Confederate  Army. 
Died  in  18-97. 

Just  as  in  the  case  of  Poe's  contemporaries  at  the 
University  of  Virginia  we  find  him  here  at  West  Point 
thrown  with  the  best  blood  of  the  country  :  General 
Robert  E.  Lee  had  graduated  the  year  before,  and  a 
long  line  of  illustrious  soldiers  and  statesmen  followed 
the  mercurial  poet.  Unfortunately,  Poe  soon  began 
to  chafe  under  the  discipline,  though  he  stood  high 
and  well  in  his  classes  :  third  in  French  and  seven 
teenth  in  mathematics,  in  a  class  of  eighty-seven.  One 
of  his  contemporaries  there  indeed  writes  :  "  He  was 
an  accomplished  French  scholar,  and  had  a  wonderful 
aptitude  for  mathematics,  so  that  he  had  no  difficulty 
in  preparing  his  recitations  in  his  class  and  in  obtaining 
the  highest  marks  in  these  departments.  He  was  a 
devourer  of  books,  but  his  great  fault  was  his  neglect 
of  and  apparent  contempt  for  military  duties.  His 
wayward  and  capricious  temper  made  him  at  times 


utterly  oblivious  or  indifferent  to  the  ordinary  routine 
of  roll-calls,  drills,  and  guard  duties.  These  habits 
subjected  him  often  to  arrest  and  punishment,  and 
effectually  prevented  his  learning  or  discharging  the 
duties  of  a  soldier." 

In  what  singular  contrast  this  Poe  is  to  the  honor 
ably  discharged  United  States  soldier  who  distinguished 
himself  for  two  years  by  the  most  exemplary  conduct  ! 
The  only  explanation  is  that  either  Poe  and  Perry 
were  different  beings  or  that  Poe's  <(  Imp  of  the 
Perverse  "  was  now  in  the  ascendant,  and  that,  learn 
ing  in  October  of  Mr.  Allan's  second  marriage,  he 
went  to  work  deliberately  to  undo  his  excellent  record 
and  get  himself,  by  insubordination  and  neglect  of 
duty,  courtmartialled  and  expelled  from  the  Academy, 
with  a  view  to  pursuing  a  literary  career. 

"Harper's  Magazine"  for  November,  1867,  con 
tains  some  highly  colored  though  not  incredible  ac 
counts  of  "  Poe  at  West  Point,"  written  thirty-seven 
years  after  the  events  by  Mr.  T.  H.  Gibson  : 

"  Number  28  South  Barracks,  in  the  last  months 
of  the  year  of  our  Lord  1830,  was  pretty  generally 
regarded  as  a  hard  room.  Cadets  who  aspired  to  high 
standing  on  the  Merit  Roll  were  not  much  given  to 
visiting  it,  at  least  in  daytime.  To  compensate  in 
some  measure  for  this  neglect,  however,  the  inspecting 
officer  was  uncommonly  punctual  in  his  visits,  and  rarely 
failed  to  find  some  object  for  his  daily  report  of  de 
merit.  The  old  barracks  have  passed  away,  and  are 
now  only  a  dream  of  stone  and  mortar ;  but  the 
records  of  the  sins  of  omission  and  commission  of 
Number  28  and  its  occupants  remain,  and  are  filed 

1  A.  B.  Magruder  to  Professor  Woodberry  :  Life,  p.  55. 


carefully  away  among  the  dusty  archives  of  the  Aca 

"  Edgar  A.  Poe  was  one  of  the  occupants  of  the 

room.  '  Old  P '  and  the  writer  of  this  sketch 

completed  the  household.  The  first  conversation  I 
had  with  Poe  after  we  became  installed  as  room-mates 
was  characteristic  of  the  man.  A  volume  of  Camp 
bell's  Poems  was  lying  upon  our  table,  and  he  tossed 
it  contemptuously  aside,  with  the  curt  remark  :  <  Camp 
bell  is  a  plagiarist  ; '  then  without  waiting  for  a  reply 
he  picked  up  the  book,  and  turned  the  leaves  over 
rapidly  until  he  found  the  passage  he  was  looking  for. 

"  '  There,'  said  he,  'is  a  line  more  often  quoted 
than  any  other  passage  of  his  :  "  Like  angel  visits  few 
and  far  between,"  and  he  stole  it  bodily  from  Blair's 
(f  Grave."  Not  satisfied  with  the  theft,  he  has 
spoiled  it  in  the  effort  to  disguise  it.  Blair  wrote  : 
"Like  angel  visits  SHORT  and  far  between."  Camp 
bell's  "  Few  and  far  between  "  is  mere  tautology.' 

"  Poe  at  that  time,  though  only  about  twenty  years 
of  age,  had  the  appearance  of  being  much  older.  He 
had  a  worn,  weary,  discontented  look,  not  easily  for 
gotten  by  those  who  were  intimate  with  him.  Poe 
was  easily  fretted  by  any  jest  at  his  expense,  and  was 
not  a  little  annoyed  by  a  story  that  some  of  the  class 
got  up,  to  the  effect  that  he  had  procured  a  cadet's  ap 
pointment  for  his  son,  and  the  boy  having  died,  the 
father  had  substituted  himself  in  his  place.  Another 
report  current  in  the  corps  was  that  he  was  a  grandson 
of  Benedict  Arnold.  Some  good-natured  friend  told 
him  of  it,  and  Poe  did  not  contradict  it,  but  seemed 
rather  pleased  than  otherwise  at  the  mistake. 

"  Very  early  in  his  brief  career  at  the  Point  he 
established  a  high  reputation  for  genius,  and  poems  and 


squibs  of  local  interest  were  daily  issued  from  Number 
28  and  went  the  round  of  the  classes.,  One  of  the 
first  things  of  the  kind  that  he  perpetrated  was  a  dia 
tribe  in  which  all  of  the  officers  of  the  Academy,  from 
Colonel  Thayer  down,  were  duly  if  not  favorably 
noticed.  I  can  recall  but  one  stanza.  It  ran  thus  : 

"  'John  Locke  was  a  very  great  name ; 
Joe  Locke  was  a  greater  in  short ; 
The  former  was  well  known  to  Fame, 
The  latter  well  known  to  Report.' 

"  Joe  Locke,  it  may  be  remarked  by  way  of  explana 
tion,  was  one  of  the  instructors  of  tactics,  and  ex-officio 
Inspector  of  Barracks,  and  supervisor  of  the  morals  and 
deportment  of  cadets  generally.  In  this  capacity  it 
was  his  duty  to  report  to  head-quarters  every  violation 
of  the  regulations  falling  under  his  observation  ;  a  duty 
in  which  he  was  in  nowise  remiss,  as  the  occupants  of 
Number  28  could  severally  testify. 

"  The  studies  of  the  Academy  Poe  utterly  ignored. 
I  doubt  if  he  ever  studied  a  page  of  Lacroix,  unless  it 
was  to  glance  hastily  over  it  in  the  lecture-room,  while 
others  of  his  section  were  reciting.  It  was  evident 
from  the  first  that  he  had  no  intention  of  going  through 
with  the  course,  and  both  the  Professors  and  Cadets 
of  the  older  classes  had  set  him  down  for  a  '  January 
colt '  before  the  corps  had  been  in  barracks  a  week. 

"  Poe  disappointed  them,  however,  for  he  did  not 
remain  until  the  January  examination,  that  pons  asin- 
orum  of  plebe  life  at  West  Point.  He  resigned,  I 
think,  early  in  December,  having  been  a  member  of 
the  corps  a  little  over  five  months. 

"  Some  month  or  two  after  he  had  left,  it  was  an 
nounced  that  a  volume  of  his  poems  would  be  pub- 

88  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

lished  by  subscription,  at  the  price  of  two  dollars  and 
fifty  cents  per  copy.  Permission  was  granted  by 
Colonel  Thayer  to  the  corps  to  subscribe  for  the  book, 
and  as  no  cadet  was  ever  known  to  neglect  any  op 
portunity  of  spending  his  pay,  the  subscription  was 
pretty  nearly  universal.  The  book  was  received  with 
a  general  expression  of  disgust.  It  was  a  puny  volume, 
of  about  fifty  pages,  bound  in  boards  and  badly  printed 
on  coarse  paper,  and  worse  than  all,  it  contained  not 
one  of  the  squibs  and  satires  upon  which  his  reputation 
at  the  Academy  had  been  built  up.  Few  of  the  poems 
contained  in  that  collection  now  appear  in  any  of  the 
editions  of  his  works,  and  such  as  have  been  preserved 
have  been  very  much  altered  for  the  better. 

"For  months  afterward  quotations  from  Poe  formed 
the  standing  material  for  jests  in  the  corps,  and  his 
reputation  for  genius  went  down  at  once  to  zero.  I 
doubt  if  even  the  '  Raven  J  of  his  after  years  ever  en 
tirely  effaced  from  the  minds  of  his  class  the  impression 
received  from  that  volume. 

"  The  unfortunate  habit  that  proved  the  bane  of  his 
after-life  had  even  at  that  time  taken  strong  hold  upon 
him,  and  Number  28  was  seldom  without  a  bottle  of 
Benny  Haven's  best  brandy.  I  don't  think  he  was 
ever  intoxicated  while  at  the  Academy,  but  he  had 
already  acquired  the  more  dangerous  habit  of  constant 

"Keeping  up  the  communications  with  our  base  of 
supplies  at  '  Old  Benny's  '  was  one  of  the  problems 
that  occupied  a  good  deal  more  of  our  thoughts  than 
any  of  the  propositions  in  Legendre;  but,  upon  the 
whole,  this  branch  of  the  commissary  department  of 
Number  28  was  a  success  ;  and  many  a  thirsty  soul, 
with  not  enough  of  pluck  to  run  the  blockade  himself, 


would  steal  into  our  room  between  tattoo  and  taps  to 
try  the  merits  of  the  last  importation. 

"  The  result  of  one  of  these  foraging  parties  after 
supplies  created  for  a  time  no  little  excitement  in  the 
South  Barracks.  People  had  been  burned  and  hung  in 
effigy,  from  time  immemorial,  but  it  was  reserved  for 
Number  28  to  witness  the  eating  of  a  Professor  in 

"  It  was  a  dark,  cold,  drizzling  night,  in  the  last  days 
of  November,  when  this  event  came  off.  The  brandy 
bottle  had  been  empty  for  two  days,  and  just  at  dusk 
Poe  proposed  that  we  should  draw  straws  —  the  one 
who  drew  the  shortest  to  go  down  to  Old  Benny's 
and  replenish  our  stock.  The  straws  were  drawn, 
and  the  lot  fell  on  me. 

"Provided  with  four  pounds  of  candles  and  Poe's 
last  blanket,  for  traffic  (silver  and  gold  we  had  not,  but 
such  as  we  had  we  gave  unto  Benny),  I  started  just  as 
the  bugle  sounded  to  quarters.  It  was  a  rough  road 
to  travel,  but  I  knew  every  foot  of  it  by  night  or  day, 
and  reached  my  place  of  destination  in  safety,  but 
drenched  to  the  skin.  Old  Benny  was  not  in  the  best 
of  humors  that  evening.  Candles  and  blankets  and 
regulation  shoes,  and  similar  articles  of  traffic,  had 
accumulated  largely  on  his  hands,  and  the  market  for 
them  was  dull  in  that  neighborhood.  His  chicken 
suppers  and  bottles  of  brandy  had  disappeared  very 
rapidly  of  late,  and  he  had  received  little  or  no  money 
in  return. 

"  At  last,  however,  I  succeeded  in  exchanging  the 
candles  and  blanket  for  a  bottle  of  brandy  and  the 
hardest-featured,  loudest-voiced  old  gander  that  it  has 
ever  been  my  lot  to  encounter.  To  chop  the  bird's 
head  off  before  venturing  into  barracks  with  him  was 


a  matter  of  pure  necessity  ;  and  thus,  in  fact,  old 
Benny  rendered  him  before  delivery.  I  reached  the 
suburbs  of  the  barracks  about  nine  o'clock.  The  bottle 
had  not  as  much  brandy  in  it  as  when  I  left  Old 
Benny's  ;  but  I  was  very  confident  I  had  not  spilled 
any.  I  had  carried  the  gander  first  over  one  shoulder 
and  then  over  the  other,  and  the  consequence  was  that 
not  only  my  shirt  front,  but  my  face  and  hands  were 
as  bloody  as  the  entire  contents  of  the  old  gander's 
veins  and  arteries  could  well  make  them. 

"  Poe  was  on  the  lookout,  and  met  me  some  distance 
from  the  barracks,  and  my  appearance  at  once  inspired 
him  with  the  idea  of  a  grand  hoax.  Our  plans  were 
perfected  in  an  instant.  The  gander  was  tied,  neck 
and  feet  and  wings  together,  and  the  bloody  feathers 
bristling  in  every  direction  gave  it  a  nondescript  ap 
pearance  that  would  have  defined  recognition  as  a 
gander  by  the  most  astute  naturalist  on  the  Continent. 
Poe  took  charge  of  the  bottle,  and  preceded  me  to 
the  room.  '  Old  P.'  was  puzzling  his  brains  over 
the  binomial  theorem,  and  a  visitor  from  the  North 
Barracks  was  in  the  room  awaiting  the  result  of  my 

"  Poe  had  taken  his  seat,  and  pretended  to  be  ab 
sorbed  in  the  mysteries  of  *  L^ons  Franchises.'  Laying 
the  gander  down  at  the  outside  of  the  door,  I  walked 
or  rather  staggered  into  the  room,  pretending  to  be 
very  drunk,  and  exhibiting  in  clothes  and  face  a  spec 
tacle  not  often  seen  off  the  stage.  '  My  God  !  what 
has  happened  ? '  exclaimed  Poe,  with  well-acted 

«  <  Old  K ,  old  K !  '  I  repeated  several 

times,  and  with  gestures  intended  to  be  particularly 


"  «  Well,  what  of  him  ?'   asked  Poe. 

"  '  He  won't  stop  me  on  the  road  any  more  !  '  and 
I  produced  a  large  knife  that  we  had  stained  with  the 
few  drops  of  blood  that  remained  in  the  old  gander. 
'  I  have  killed  him  ! ' 

"  '  Nonsense  !  '  said  Poe,  'you  are  only  trying  one 
of  your  tricks  on  us.' 

"  'I  didn't  suppose  you  would  believe  me,'  I  re 
plied  ;  '  so  I  cut  off  his  head  and  brought  it  into 
barracks.  Here  it  is  !  *  and  reaching  out  of  the  door 
I  caught  the  gander  by  the  legs,  and  giving  it  one  fear 
ful  swing  around  my  head  dashed  it  at  the  only  candle 
in  the  room,  and  left  them  all  in  darkness  with  what 
two  of  them  believed  to  be  the  head  of  one  of  the  Pro 
fessors.  The  visitor  leaped  through  the  window  and 
alighted  in  the  slop-tub,  and  made  fast  time  for  his 
own  room  in  the  North  Barracks  —  spreading,  as  he 

went,  the  report  that  I  had  killed  old  K ,  and  that 

his  head  was  then  in  Number  28.  The  story  gained 
ready  credence,  and  for  a  time  the  excitement  in  bar 
racks  ran  high.  When  we  lit  the  candle  again,  '  Old 

P • '  was  sitting  in  one  corner,  a  blank  picture  of 

horror,  and  it  was  some  time  before  we  could  restore  him 
to  reason. 

"  The  gander  was  skinned  —  picking  the  feathers  off 
was  out  of  the  question  —  and  after  taps  we  cut  him  up 
in  small  pieces,  and  cooked  him  in  a  tin  wash-basin, 
over  an  anthracite  fire,  without  seasoning  of  any  kind. 
It  was  perhaps  the  hardest  supper  on  record,  but  we 
went  through  with  it  without  flinching.  We  had  set 

out  to  eat  old  K in  effigy,  and  we  did  it ;  whether 

he  ever  learned  of  the  honors  we  paid  him  that  night  I 
never  learned. 

"  Upon  the  whole  the  impression  left  by  Poe  in  his 

92  EDGAR   ALLAN    FOB. 

short  career  at  West  Point  was  highly  favorable  to 
him.  If  he  made  no  fast  friends,  he  left  no  enemies 
behind  him.  But  up  to  that  time  he  had  given  no  in 
dications  of  the  genius  which  has  since  secured  for  him 
a  world-wide  fame.  His  acquaintance  with  English 
literature  was  extensive  and  accurate,  and  his  verbal 
memory  wonderful.  He  would  repeat  both  prose  and 
poetry  by  the  hour,  and  seldom  or  never  repeated  the 
same  passage  twice  to  the  same  audience. 

"  The  whole  bent  of  his  mind  at  that  time  seemed 
to  be  toward  criticism  —  or,  more  properly  speaking, 
caviling.  Whether  it  were  Shakspeare  or  Byron,  Ad- 
dison  or  Johnson  —  the  acknowledged  classic  or  the 
latest  poetaster  —  all  came  in  alike  for  his  critical  cen 
sure.  He  seemed  to  take  especial  delight  in  caviling  at 
passages  that  had  received  the  most  unequivocal  stamp 
of  general  approval.  I  never  heard  him  speak  in  terms 
of  praise  of  any  English  writer,  living  or  dead.  I  never 
met  him  after  he  left  the  Academy  in  December,  I  830  ; 
and  hence  my  recollections  and  impressions  of  him  are 
Wholly  uninfluenced  by  his  after-life." 

He  was  courtmartialled  and  dismissed  from  the 
Academy  for  disobedience  to  orders  and  absence  from 
roll-calls,  guard-duty,  and  class-work,  the  sentence 
taking  effect  March  6,  1831. 

This  third  crisis-point  of  his  career  was  signalized 
by  a  third  volume  of  Poems,  published  by  Elam  Bliss 
of  New  York  and  subscribed  to,  at  seventy-five  cents 
a  copy,  by  his  fellow-cadets.  They,  supposing  the 
volume  to  contain  squibs  and  pasquinades,  satires  and 
jokes  against  the  professors,  were,  it  is  said,  egregiously 
disappointed  on  receiving  the  volume,  to  find  it  con 
tained  only  —  "  Israfel,"  "  To  Helen,"  "  Lenore" 
(in  its  first  version),  "The  Sleeper,"  "  The  Valley 
of  Unrest,"  and  other  masterpieces ! 


Guffaws  of  amazement  received  this  third  venture 
of  "  Gaffy  "  Poe,  according  to  General  Cullum,  who 
instead  of  using  the  marvellous  tambour  of  Heine's 
Monsieur  Le  Grand  to  convey  his  meaning  to  the 
world,  had  simply  picked  up  a  golden  strand  from 
Israfel's  harp  and  strung  it  in  the  world's  window. 

The  Dedication  read  : 

To  the  U.  S.  Corps  of  Cadets 
This  Volume 

Respectfully  Dedicated. 

Then  follows,  a  few  pages  later,  the  long  and  ram 
bling  "Letter  to  Mr. ,"  afterwards  re 
printed  in  the  "Southern  Literary  Messenger "  for 
July,  1836,  and  containing  Poe's  peculiar  views  of 
Wordsworth,  Coleridge,  and  the  Lake  School.  This 
is  followed  by  the  following  eleven  poems  :  Introduc 
tion  ("Romance,  who  loves  to  nod  and  sing  "),  "To 
Helen,"  "  Israfel,"  "  The  Doomed  City,"  "Fairy 
Land,"  "Irene,"  "AP<ean,"  «  The  Valley  Nis  ;" 
"  Al  Aaraaf,"  Parts  i  and  ii,  Sonnet  ("Science"), 
"Tamerlane:"  in  all  one  hundred  and  twenty-four 
duodecimo  pages,  in  green  boards. 

Nearly  all  the  rubbish  of  the  earlier  volumes  has  been 
dropped  :  "  the  trash  shaken  from  them  in  which  they 
were  embedded,"  says  Poe  in  the  prefatory  letter  to 

"  Dear  B ."  The  sculptor  is  busy  hewing  away 

at  the  marble  —  the  brilliant  chips  flying  —  and  draw 
ing  forth  the  delicate  imprisoned  image  from  the  envel 
oping  chalk.  In  three  years  a  wonderful  gain  in 
precision,  defmiteness,  lucidity,  music,  has  taken  place. 
What  before  was  as  uncertain  as  a  choir  of  whispering 

94  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

reeds  along  a  river's  marge,  as  vague  as  the  crescendo 
and  diminuendo  of  the  footfalls  of  the  wandering  winds 
at  night,  has  gathered  itself  into  focal  form  and  becomes 
incarnate  in  the  stanzas  of  "  Helen  "  and  "  Israfel." 
The  poet  of  twenty-one  is  still  awkward,  clumsy, 
stumbling  in  rhyme  and  metre,  a  'prentice  in  the  nice 
ties  of  verse,  yet  haunted  by  inexpressible  verbal  melo 
dies,  as  voluptuous  as  Spenser  in  the  rippling  flow  of 
some  lines,  as  gauche  as  Whitman  in  the  hiatuses  of 
others.  The  volume  of  1831  is  the  visible  parturition 
of  a  great  poet  whose  complete  birth  will  require  fifteen 
years  more.  The  increasing  delicacy  of  perception 
and  feeling,  the  sentiment  of  the  magical  beauty  of  the 
world,  and  of  its  mystery,  the  consciousness  of  the 
harmonies  that  well  up  from  mere  words  in  their  vowel 
and  consonantal  combinations  and  contrasts,  the  poetry 
that  there  is  in  Death,  in  Doom,  in  Sorrow,  in  Sin 
(carried  to  an  extreme  by  his  admirer  and  imitator, 
Baudelaire,  in  his  "  Fleurs  du  Mai  ") —  all  haunt  this 
plastic  young  imagination  with  their  soft  and  vivid 
blandishments  and  blow  their  triton-horns  in  his  subtle 
ear,  enticing  to  new  and  sometimes  happier  fields. 

"Second  edition"  on  the  title-page  of  this  little 
work  means  that  this  volume  was  regarded  by  its  author 
as  the  book  of  1829  with  some  things  left  out.  His 
statement  is  :  "  Believing  only  a  portion  of  my  former 
volume  to  be  worthy  a  second  edition  —  that  small 
portion  I  thought  it  as  well  to  include  in  the  present 
book  as  to  republish  by  itself.  I  have  therefore  herein 
combined  '  Al  Aaraaf '  and  '  Tamerlane  '  with  other 
Poems  hitherto  unprinted." 

The  "other  Poems  hitherto  unprinted  "  must  be 
the  product  of  the  year  1830,  in  between  the  1829 
and  the  I  83 1  volumes,  and  they  are  perhaps  the  only 









poems  of  this  period  that  will  live  —  the  eight  beauti 
ful  minor  poems  of  the  collection  composed  either  at 
West  Point  between  July  I,  1830,  and  January  I, 
1831,  or  during  that  period  and  the  preceding  six 
months  when  the  poet  was  idle  and  waiting  for  his 
cadet's  commission.  Viewed  in  this  light,  the 
«  Paean  "  may  be  in  its  first  draft  a  memorial  dirge  in 
memory  of  the  first  Mrs.  Allan.  All  accounts  say 
that  the  two  were  very  fond  of  each  other,  and  the 
poem  brims  with  a  heartfelt  feeling  that  no  mere  ficti 
tious  incident  could  have  inspired. 

Just  the  year  before  Tennyson  had  published 
"  Poems  chiefly  Lyrical,"  and  certainly  this  collec 
tion  contains  nothing  of  finer  edge  or  dreamier  grace 
than  Poe's  work,  which  was  contemporary  with  it; 
while  for  1829  Poe's  "Al  Aaraaf  "  may  certainly  com 
pare  favorably  with  Tennyson's  prize-poem  "  Tim- 
buctoo,"  of  the  same  year. 





IT  is  at  this  point  —  from  March,  1831  to  the  sum 
mer  of  1833  —  tnat  P°e's  biography  slips  within  the 
penumbra  of  almost  total  obscurity.1  Now,  if  at  all, 
occurred  those  wanderings  of  the  new  Odysseus  of 
which  Burwell,  Mrs.  Shelton,  Mr.  Ingram,  even  Mrs. 
Allan  (in  her  letter  to  Colonel  T.  H.  Ellis)  speak  — 
the  Russian  journey,  the  French  adventure,  etc.,  the 
former  of  which  Poe  left  uncontradicted  in  Hirst's 
biography  of  him,  the  latter  he  is  reported  to  have  re 
lated  to  Mrs.  Marie  Louise  Shew  in  a  supposed  death 
bed  confession.  A  hiatus  of  two  years  and  a  half 
occurred  during  which  the  only  glimmering  of  light  is 
afforded  by  a  letter  from  Poe  to  William  Gwynn,  a 
Baltimore  editor,  dated  May  6th,  1831,  referring  to 
Mr.  Allan's  second  marriage,  and  to  Poe's  own  fool 
ish  conduct  on  a  former  occasion,  and  asking  for  em 
ployment  of  some  kind,  "salary  a  minor  consideration." 
None  seems  to  have  been  forthcoming,  nor  could  Mr. 
N.  C.  Brooks  (afterwards  well  known  as  an  editor 
and  litterateur')  procure  him  even  an  usher's  place  in 
his  school. 

Another  glimmer  proceeds  from  a  paper  in  "  Har 
per's  "  for  March,  1889,  entitled  "Poe's  Mary," 
by  Augustus  van  Cleef,  according  to  which  Poe  spent 

1  See  Appendix  to  Letters,  for  a  recently  discovered  letter  of  Poe 
on  this  subject. 


the  year  immediately  following  his  dismissal  from  West 
Point,  with  his  aunt  Mrs.  Clemm,  in  Baltimore.  If 
one  can  credit  the  statements  of  this  paper,  which  pur 
port  to  be  the  story  of  Poe's  love  for  a  Baltimore  girl 
of  that  time,  the  poet  had  just  returned  from  the 
Academy,  was  a  handsome,  fascinating  young  man 
who  "wrote  poetry."  "  Any  young  girl  would 
have  fallen  in  love  with  him  "  — and  "  Poe's  Mary  " 
did.  "Mr.  Poe,"  Mary  continues,  "was  about  five 
feet  eight  inches  tall,  and  had  dark,  almost  black  hair, 
which  he  wore  long  and  brushed  back  in  student  style 
over  his  ears.  It  was  as  fine  as  silk.  His  eyes  were 
large  and  full,  gray  and  piercing.  He  was  then,  I 
think,  entirely  clean  shaven.  His  nose  was  long  and 
Straight,  and  his  features  finely  cut.  The  expression 
about  his  mouth  was  beautiful.  He  was  pale  and  had 
no  color.  His  skin  was  of  a  clear,  beautiful  olive. 
He  had  a  sad,  melancholy  look.  He  was  very  slender 
when  I  first  knew  him,  but  had  a  fine  figure,  an  erect, 
military  carriage,  and  a  quick  step.  But  it  was  his 
manner  that  most  charmed.  It  was  elegant.  When 
he  looked  at  you  it  seemed  as  if  he  could  read  your 
very  thoughts.  His  voice  was  pleasant  and  musical, 
but  not  deep."  Colonel  T.  W.  Higginson,  many 
years  later,  hearing  Poe  read  "  Ligeia,"  bore  testi 
mony  to  the  beauty  of  his  voice. 

The  confession  of  "  Mary  "  bears  internal  evidence 
of  being  true.  She  describes  his  dress,  his  originality, 
his  affectionate,  even  passionate  manner  in  his  ad 
dresses,  his  hauteur,  aristocratic  manners,  and  reserve. 
Excitable,  jealous,  intense,  tender,  the  sensitive  youth 
appears  before  us  in  these  pages  just  as  he  must  have 
been.  Little  Virginia  Clemm  carried  the  notes  that 
passed  to  and  fro  between  the  lovers,  —  a  lovely,  violet- 
VOL.  i.  — 7 


eyed  school-girl  of  ten  who  even  then  loved  her  cousin 
to  distraction.  He  proposed  marriage  to  ''Mary," 
but  his  penniless  condition  stood  in  the  way  of  the 

Finally,  the  inevitable  lovers'  quarrel  took  place, 
brought  on  by  jealousy  of  a  supposed  rival  and  by 
chance  indulgence  with  some  West  Point  cadets  in  a 
glass  of  wine.  "  A  glass  made  him  tipsy.  As  to  his 
being  a  habitual  drunkard,  he  never  was  as  long  as  I 
knew  him  "  [and  this  lady  sat  beside  Virginia's  death 
bed  in  1847]. 

All  intercourse  was  then  broken  off  by  the  inamo 
rata,  who  left  his  letters  unanswered  or  returned 
them.  Poe  then  wrote  her  satirical  notelets  and  pub 
lished  a  poem  "To  Mary "  in  a  Baltimore 

paper,  dealing  severely  with  her  fickleness  and  incon 
stancy.  This  brought  about  a  personal  difficulty  be 
tween  Poe  and  the  lady's  uncle,  during  which  Poe 
drew  a  cowhide  and  chastised  the  old  gentleman  ; 
afterwards  palling  the  cowhide  out  of  his  sleeve,  and 
throwing  it  passionately  to  the  feet  of  his  beloved,  ex 
claiming  :  "  There,  I  make  you  a  present  of  that !  " 

The  lady  afterwards  married  another,  lived  in  Phila 
delphia  and  New  York,  visited  the  Poes  at  Fordham 
and  in  Amity  Street,  and  died  in  the  West  in  1887. 

The  article  is  rambling  and  erroneous  in  some  of  its 
statements,  but  is  evidently  inspired  by  a  real  acquaint 
ance  with  Poe  in  his  earlier  years.  A  search  in  the 
contemporary  Baltimore  papers  for  the  poem  might 
throw  additional  light  on  its  authenticity. 

Whether  Poe  went  to  Richmond  during  this  dark 
period  or  received  any  help  from  the  Allans  is  alto 
gether  problematical.  A  vivid  gleam  of  light,  however, 
is  thrown  upon  his  career  by  the  famous  competition  of 


the  summer  of  1833,  when  "  The  Baltimore  Visiter  " 
announced  that  it  would  give  two  prizes,  one,  of  a 
hundred  dollars,  for  the  best  story,  another,  of  fifty 
dollars,  for  the  best  poem  to  be  published  in  its  columns 
by  a  given  date.  The  committee  of  award  was  com 
posed  of  three  distinguished  Baltimore  gentlemen  :  John 
P.  Kennedy,  J.  H.  B.  Latrobe,  and  Dr.  James  H. 
Miller  ;  and  the  contest  was  so  interesting  that  it  is 
worth  while  giving  an  account  of  it  in  Mr.  Latrobe' s 
own  words,  many  years  afterwards,  on  the  occasion  of 
the  unveiling  of  the  Poe  Monument  in  Baltimore,  in 

"The  Saturday  Visiter"  was  a  weekly  paper 
whose  origin  has  been  entertainingly  described  by  L. 
A.  Wilmer  in  "  Our  Press  Gang,  or  The  Crimes  of 
the  American  Newspapers  :  1859."  This  new  liter 
ary  weekly  had  been  established  by  Mr.  C.  F.  Cloud 
(not  by  Wilmer,  as  asserted  by  Professor  Woodberry), 
who  placed  the  editorial  management  in  Mr.  Wilmer' s 
charge  and  afterwards  associated  Mr.  W.  P.  Pouder, 
his  brother-in-law,  and  Mr.  Hewitt,  a  musician  and 
poet,  with  the  enterprise.  The  weekly  throve  beyond 
all  expectations  and  would,  doubtless,  have  proved  a 
decided  success  had  not  the  editors  fallen  out,  dissolved 
partnership,  and  lampooned  each  other.  It  then  passed 
into  the  hands  of  T.  S.  Arthur,  who  subsequently 
transferred  it  to  Dr.  J.  E.  Snodgrass,  Poe's  physician- 
friend.  Shortly  afterwards  it  expired. 

Wilmer,  in  this  curious  book,  bears  the  following 
testimony  to  Poe's  character : 

"  The  late  Edgar  A.  Poe  has  been  represented  by 
the  American  newspapers  in  general  as  a  reckless 
libertine  and  a  confirmed  inebriate.  I  do  not  recognize 
him  by  this  description,  though  I  was  intimately  ac- 

100  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

quainted  with  the  man,  and  had  every  opportunity  to 
study  his  character.  I  have  been  in  company  with 
him  every  day  for  many  months  together  ;  and,  within 
a  period  of  twelve  years,  I  did  not  see  him  inebriated  ; 
no,  not  in  a  single  instance.  I  do  not  believe  that  he 
was  ever  habitually  intemperate  until  he  was  made  so 
by  grief  and  many  bitter  disappointments.  And,  with 
respect  to  the  charge  of  libertinism,  I  have  similar  tes 
timony  to  offer.  Of  all  men  that  I  ever  knew,  he  was 
the  most  passionless ,-  and  I  appeal  to  his  writings  for  a 
confirmation  of  this  report.  Poets  of  ardent  tempera 
ment,  such  as  Anacreon,  Ovid,  Byron,  and  Tom 
Moore,  will  always  display  their  constitutional  pecu 
liarity  in  their  literary  compositions;  but  Edgar  A. 
Poe  never  wrote  a  line  that  gave  expression  to  a  libid 
inous  thought.  The  female  creations  of  his  fancy  are 
all  either  statues  or  angels.  His  conversation,  at  all 
times,  was  as  chaste  as  that  of  a  vestal,  and  his  conduct, 
while  I  knew  him,  was  correspondingly  blameless. 

"  Poe,  during  his  lifetime,  was  feared  and  hated  by 
many  newspaper  editors  and  other  literary  animalcules, 
some  of  whom,  or  their  friends,  had  been  the  subject 
of  his  searching  critiques;  and  others  disliked  him, 
naturally  enough,  because  he  was  a  man  of  superior 
intellect.  While  he  lived,  these  resentful  gentlemen 
were  discreetly  silent,  but  they  nursed  their  wrath  to 
keep  it  warm,  and  the  first  intelligence  of  his  death  was 
the  signal  for  a  general  onslaught.  The  primal  slander 
against  the  deceased  bard  was  published  in  a  leading 
journal  of  Philadelphia,  the  'literary  editor*  of  which 
had  formerly  received  not  only  a  critical  rebuke,  but 
something  like  personal  chastisement  also  from  the 
hands  of  the  departed  poet."  1 

1  Our  Press  Gang,  pp.  243-5. 


In  spite  of  the  large  circulation  of  "  The  Baltimore 
Visiter,"  not  a  single  file  of  it  is  known  to  exist.  The 
attention  of  rare-book  hunters  might  well  be  called  to 
the  value  of  the  unique  number  (October  I  2)  in  which 
the  "MS.  Found  in  a  Bottle"  appeared,  as  well  as 
to  that  of  the  other  numbers  to  which,  for  six  months, 
Poe  is  said  to  have  contributed. 

The  announcement  of  his  winning  of  the  prize  at 
once  surrounded  Poe  with  a  blaze  of  publicity,  in 
which,  afterwards,  he  never  ceased  to  live.  He  had 
emerged  out  of  the  penumbra  into  the  full  light  of 
day,  a  vexatious  apocalypse  which  enabled  the  critics 
to  turn  their  microscopes  upon  him  and  subject  his 
every  thought,  attitude,  and  gesture  to  minute  inves 
tigation.  The  vivisection  has  gone  on  for  three- 
quarters  of  a  century,  while  the  "subject"  lies  in 
a  haunted  sleep,  and  mutters  anathemas  against  the 
anatomists ! 

The  "Visiter"  of  October  12,  1833,  contained 
the  following  notice  : 

"Amongst  the  prose  articles  [submitted  for  the 
prize]  were  many  of  various  and  distinguished  merit, 
but  the  singular  force  and  beauty  of  those  sent  by  the 
author  of  '  The  Tales  of  the  Folio  Club  '  leave  us  no 
room  for  hesitation  in  that  department.  We  have  ac 
cordingly  awarded  the  premium  to  a  tale  entitled  '  The 
MS.  Found  in  a  Bottle.'  It  would  hardly  be  doing 
justice  to  the  writer  of  this  collection  to  say  that  the 
tale  we  have  chosen  is  the  best  of  the  six  offered  by 
him.  We  cannot  refrain  from  saying  that  the  author 
owes  it  to  his  own  reputation,  as  well  as  to  the  gratifi 
cation  of  the  community,  to  publish  the  entire  volume 
['Tales  of  the  Folio  Club  '].  These  tales  are  emi 
nently  distinguished  by  a  wild,  vigorous,  and  poetical 

102  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

imagination,  a  rich  style,  a  fertile  invention,  and  varied 

and  curious  learning. 

"  (Signed)  JOHN  P.  KENNEDY, 
J.  H.  B.  LATROBE, 

How  this  tale  came  to  be  selected  may  be  seen  from 
the  1  Reminiscences  of  Poe  by  John  H.  B.  Latrobe  : 

"About  the  year  1833  there  was  a  newspaper 
in  Baltimore  called  '  The  Saturday  Visiter '  —  an 
ephemeral  publication,  that  aimed  at  amusing  its 
readers  with  light  literary  productions  rather  than  the 
news  of  the  day.  One  of  its  efforts  was  to  procure 
original  tales,  and  to  this  end  it  offered  on  this  occasion 
two  prizes,  one  for  the  best  story  and  the  other  for  the 
best  short  poem  —  one  hundred  dollars  for  the  first 
and  fifty  for  the  last.  The  judges  appointed  by  the 
editor  of  the  '  Visiter '  were  the  late  John  P.  Ken 
nedy,  Dr.  James  H.  Miller  (now  deceased),  and 
myself,  and  accordingly  we  met,  one  pleasant  after 
noon,  in  the  back  parlor  of  my  house,  on  Mulberry 
Street,  and  seated  round  a  table  garnished  with  some 
old  wine  and  some  good  cigars,  commenced  our  critical 
labors.  As  I  happened  then  to  be  the  youngest  of 
the  three,  I  was  required  to  open  the  packages  of  prose 
and  poetry,  respectively,  and  read  the  contents. 
Alongside  of  me  was  a  basket  to  hold  what  we  might 

"  I  remember  well  that  the  first  production  taken 
from  the  top  of  the  prose  pile  was  in  a  woman's  hand, 
written  very  distinctly,  as,  indeed,  were  all  the  articles 
submitted,  and  so  neatly  that  it  seemed  a  pity  not  to 

1  Edgar  Allan  Poe  Memorial  Volume.  By  Sara  Sigourney 
Rice.  Baltimore:  Turnbull  Brothers:  1877. 


award  to  it  a  prize.  It  was  ruthlessly  criticised,  how 
ever,  for  it  was  ridiculously  bad  —  namby-pamby  in 
the  extreme  —  full  of  sentiment  and  of  the  school 
known  as  the  Laura  Matilda  school.  The  first  page 
would  have  consigned  it  to  the  basket  as  our  critical 
guillotine  beheaded  it.  Gallantry,  however,  caused  it 
to  be  read  through,  when  in  it  went  along  with  the 
envelope  containing  the  name  of  the  writer,  which,  of 
course,  remained  unknown.  The  next  piece  I  have 
no  recollection  of,  except  that  a  dozen  lines  consigned 
it  to  the  basket.  I  remember  that  the  third,  perhaps 
the  fourth,  production  was  recognized  as  a  translation 
from  the  French,  with  a  terrific  denouement.  It  was 
a  poor  translation  too  ;  for,  falling  into  literal  accuracy, 
the  writer  had,  in  many  places,  followed  the  French 
idioms.  The  story  was  not  without  merit,  but  the  Sir 
Fretful  Plagiary  of  a  translator  deserved  the  charge  of 
Sheridan  in  the  '  Critic,'  of  being  like  a  beggar  who 
had  stolen  another  man's  child  and  clothed  it  in  his 
own  rags.  Of  the  remaining  productions  I  have  no 
recollection.  Some  were  condemned  after  a  few  sen 
tences  had  been  read.  Some  were  laid  aside  for  re 
consideration  —  not  many.  These  last  failed  to  pass 
muster  afterwards,  and  the  committee  had  about  made 
up  their  minds  that  there  was  nothing  before  them  to 
which  they  would  award  a  prize,  when  I  noticed  a 
small  quarto-bound  book  that  had  until  then  acciden 
tally  escaped  attention,  possibly  because  so  unlike, 
externally,  the  bundles  of  manuscript  that  it  had  to 
compete  with.  Opening  it,  an  envelope  with  a  motto 
corresponding  with  one  in  the  book  appeared,  and  we 
found  that  our  prose  examination  was  still  incomplete. 
Instead  of  the  common  cursive  manuscript,  the  writing 
was  in  Roman  characters  —  an  imitation  of  printing. 

104  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

I  remember  that  while  reading  the  first  page  to  myself, 
Mr.  Kennedy  and  the  Doctor  had  filled  their  glasses 
and  lit  their  cigars,  and  when  I  said  that  we  seemed 
at  last  to  have  a  prospect  of  awarding  the  prize,  they 
laughed  as  though  they  doubted  it,  and  settled  them 
selves  in  their  comfortable  chairs  as  I  began  to  read. 
I  had  not  proceeded  far  before  my  colleagues  became 
as  much  interested  as  myself.  The  first  tale  finished, 
I  went  to  the  second,  then  to  the  next,  and  did  not 
stop  until  I  had  gone  through  the  volume,  interrupted 
only  by  such  exclamations  as  '  capital  !  '  '  excel 
lent  !  '  '  how  odd  !  *  and  the  like,  from  my  compan 
ions.  There  was  genius  in  everything  they  listened 
to  ;  there  was  no  uncertain  grammar,  no  feeble  phrase 
ology,  no  ill-placed  punctuation,  no  worn-out  truisms, 
no  strong  thought  elaborated  into  weakness.  Logic 
and  imagination  were  combined  in  rare  consistency. 
Sometimes  the  writer  created  in  his  mind  a  world  of 
his  own  and  then  described  it  —  a  world  so  weird, 
so  strange  — 

"  '  Far  down  by  the  dim  lake  of  Auber, 

In  the  misty  mid-region  of  Wier ; 

Far  down  by  the  dank  tarn  of  Auber, 

In  the  ghoul-haunted  woodland  of  Weir  j  * 

and  withal  so  fascinating,  so  wonderfully  graphic,  that 
it  seemed  for  the  moment  to  have  all  the  truth  of  a 
reality.  There  was  an  analysis  of  complicated  facts  — 
an  unravelling  of  circumstantial  evidence  that  won  the 
lawyer  judges  —  an  amount  of  accurate  scientific 
knowledge  that  charmed  their  accomplished  colleague 
—  a  pure  classic  diction  that  delighted  all  three. 

"  When  the  reading  was  completed  there  was  a  diffi 
culty  of  choice.      Portions  of  the  tales  were  read  again, 


and  finally  the  committee  selected  "  A  MS.  Found  in 
a  Bottle."  One  of  the  series  was  called  "  A  Descent 
into  the  Maelstrom,"  and  this  was  at  one  time  pre 
ferred.1  I  cannot  now  recall  the  names  of  all  the  tales 

—  there  must  have  been  six   or   eight  —  but  all  the 
circumstances  of  the   selection  ultimately    made  have 
been  so  often  since  referred  to  in  conversation  that  my 
memory  has   been   kept   fresh,  and   I  see  my  fellow- 
judges  over  their   wine  and  cigars,  in  their  easy-chairs 

—  both   genial,  hearty  men,  in  pleasant  mood,  as  dis 
tinctly  now   as  though  I  were  describing  an  event  of 

"  Having  made  the  selection  and  awarded  the  one 
hundred  dollar  prize,  not,  as  has  been  said,  most  un 
justly  and  ill-naturedly,  because  the  manuscript  was 
legible,  but  because  of  the  unquestionable  genius  and 
great  originality  of  the  writer,  we  were  at  liberty  to 
open  the  envelope  that  identified  him,  and  there  we 
found  in  the  note,  whose  motto  corresponded  with  that 
of  the  little  volume,  the  name,  which  I  see  you  antici 
pate,  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe. 

"The  statement  in  Dr.  Gris wold's  life  prefixed  to 
the  common  edition  of  Poe' s  works,  that  '  It  was  unani 
mously  decided  by  the  committee  that  the  prize  should 
be  given  to  the  first  genius  who  had  written  legibly  ; 
not  another  MS.  was  unfolded, '  is  absolutely  untrue. 

"  Refreshed  by  this  most  unexpected  change  in  the 
character  of  the  contributions,  the  committee  refilled 
their  glasses  and  relit  their  cigars,  and  the  reader  began 
upon  the  poetry.  This,  although  better  in  the  main 

1  This  at  once  establishes  the  fact  that  "  A  Descent  into  the 
Maelstrom"  was  one  of  the  sixteen  "Tales  of  the  Folio  Club," 
and  enables  us  to  correct  Professor  Woodbeny's  statement  (Poe's 
Works,  IV.,  p.  283)  that  the  "sixteenth  Tale  is  unidentified." 


than  the  prose,  was  bad  enough,  and,  when  we  had 
gone  more  or  less  thoroughly  over  the  pile  of  manu 
script,  two  pieces  only  were  deemed  worthy  of  consid 
eration.  The  title  of  one  was  '  The  Coliseum,'  the 
written  printing  of  which  told  that  it  was  Poe's.  The 
title  of  the  other  I  have  forgotten,  but,  upon  opening 
the  accompanying  envelope,  we  found  that  the  author 
was  Mr.  John  H.  Hewitt,  still  living  in  Baltimore, 
and  well  known,  I  believe,  in  the  musical  world,  both 
as  a  poet  and  composer.  I  am  not  prepared  to  say 
that  the  committee  may  not  have  been  biased  in  award 
ing  the  fifty  dollar  prize  to  Mr.  Hewitt  by  the  fact 
that  they  had  already  given  the  one  hundred  dollar 
prize  to  Mr.  Poe.  I  recollect,  however,  that  we 
agreed  that,  under  the  circumstances,  the  excellence  of 
Mr.  Hewitt's  poem  deserved  a  reward,  and  we  gave 
the  smaller  prize  to  him  with  clear  consciences. 

"  I  believe  that  up  to  this  time  not  one  of  the  com 
mittee  had  ever  seen  Mr.  Poe,  and  it  is  my  impression 
that  I  was  the  only  one  that  ever  heard  of  him.  When 
his  name  was  read  I  remembered  that  on  one  occasion 
Mr.  William  Gwynn,  a  prominent  member  of  the  bar 
of  Baltimore,  had  shown  me  the  very  neat  manuscript 
of  a  poem  called  '  Al  Aaraaf,'  which  he  spoke  of  as 
indicative  of  a  tendency  to  anything  but  the  business 
of  matter-of-fact  life.  Those  of  my  hearers  who  are 
familiar  with  the  poet's  works  will  recollect  it  as  one  of 
his  earlier  productions.  Although  Mr.  Gwynn,  being 
an  admirable  lawyer,  was  noted  as  the  author  of  wise 
and  witty  epigrams  in  verse,  '  Al  Aaraaf  was  not  in 
his  vein,  and  what  he  said  of  the  writer  had  not  pre 
pared  me  for  the  productions  before  the  committee. 
His  name.  I  am  sure,  was  not  at  the  time  a  familiar 


"The  next  number  of  the  'Saturday  Visiter  '  con 
tained  the  <  MS.  Found  in  a  Bottle/  and  announced 
the  author.  My  office,  in  these  days,  was  in  the 
building  still  occupied  by  the  Mechanics'  Bank,  and  I 
was  seated  at  my  desk  on  the  Monday  following  the 
publication  of  the  tale,  when  a  gentleman  entered  and 
introduced  himself  as  the  writer,  saying  that  he  came 
to  thank  me,  as  one  of  the  committee,  for  the  award 
in  his  favor.  Of  this  interview,  the  only  one  I  ever 
had  with  Mr.  Poe,  my  recollection  is  very  distinct  in 
deed,  and  it  requires  but  a  small  effort  of  imagination 
to  place  him  before  me  now,  as  plainly  almost  as  I  see 
any  one  of  my  audience.  He  was,  if  anything,  below 
the  middle  size,  and  yet  could  not  be  described  as  a 
small  man.  His  figure  was  remarkably  good,  and  he 
carried  himself  erect  and  well,  as  one  who  had  been 
trained  to  it.  He  was  dressed  in  black,  and  his  frock- 
coat  was  buttoned  to  the  throat,  where  it  met  the 
black  stock,  then  almost  universally  worn.  Not  a  par 
ticle  of  white  was  visible.  Coat,  hat,  boots,  and 
gloves  had  very  evidently  seen  their  best  days,  but  so 
far  as  mending  and  brushing  go,  everything  had  been 
done,  apparently,  to  make  them  presentable.  On  most 
men  his  clothes  would  have  looked  shabby  and  seedy, 
but  there  was  something  about  this  man  that  prevented 
one  from  criticising  his  garments,  and  the  details  I 
have  mentioned  were  only  recalled  afterwards.  The 
impression  made,  however,  was  that  the  award  in 
Mr.  Poe's  favor  was  not  inopportune.  Gentleman  was 
written  all  over  him.  His  manner  was  easy  and  quiet, 
and  although  he  came  to  return  thanks  for  what  he 
regarded  as  deserving  them,  there  was  nothing  obse 
quious  in  what  he  said  or  did.  His  features  I  am 
unable  to  describe  in  detail.  His  forehead  was  high, 

108  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

and  remarkable  for  the  great  development  at  the 
temple.  This  was  the  characteristic  of  his  head, 
which  you  noticed  at  once,  and  which  I  have  never 
forgotten.  The  expression  of  his  face  was  grave, 
almost  sad,  except  when  he  was  engaged  in  conversa 
tion,  when  it  became  animated  and  changeable.  His 
voice,  I  remember,  was  very  pleasing  in  its  tone  and 
well  modulated,  almost  rhythmical,  and  his  words 
were  well  chosen  and  unhesitating.  Taking  a  seat, 
we  conversed  a  while  on  ordinary  topics,  and  he  in 
formed  me  that  Mr.  Kennedy,  my  colleague  in  the 
committee,  on  whom  he  had  already  called,  had  either 
given,  or  promised  to  give  him,  a  letter  to  the  '  South 
ern  Literary  Messenger,'  which  he  hoped  would  pro 
cure  him  employment.1  I  asked  him  whether  he  was 
then  occupied  with  any  literary  labor.  He  replied 
that  he  was  engaged  on  a  voyage  to  the  moon,  and  at 
once  went  into  a  somewhat  learned  disquisition  upon 
the  laws  of  gravity,  the  height  of  the  earth's  atmos 
phere,  and  the  capacities  of  balloons,  warming  in  his 
speech  as  he  proceeded.  Presently,  speaking  in  the 
first  person,  he  began  the  voyage :  after  describing  the 
preliminary  arrangements,  as  you  will  find  them  set 
forth  in  one  of  his  tales,  called  '  The  Adventure  of 
One  Hans  Pfaall,'  and  leaving  the  earth,  and  becoming 
more  and  more  animated,  he  described  his  sensation, 
as  he  ascended  higher  and  higher,  until,  at  last,  he 
reached  the  point  in  space  where  the  moon's  attraction 
overcame  that  of  the  earth,  when  there  was  a  sudden 
bouleversement  of  the  car  and  a  great  confusion  among 
its  tenants.  By  this  time  the  speaker  had  become  so 

1  There  is  some  confusion  of  dates  here  :  the  Messenger  was 
not  established  until  August,  1834,  nearly  ten  months  after  this 
interview.  —  ED. 


excited,  spoke  so  rapidly,  gesticulating  much,  that 
when  the  turn  up-side-down  took  place,  and  he 
clapped  his  hands  and  stamped  with  his  foot  by  way 
of  emphasis,  I  was  carried  along  with  him,  and,  for 
aught  to  the  contrary  that  I  now  remember,  may  have 
fancied  myself  the  companion  of  his  aerial  journey. 
The  climax  of  the  tale  was  the  reversal  I  have  men 
tioned.  When  he  had  finished  his  description  he 
apologized  for  his  excitability,  which  he  laughed  at 
himself.  The  conversation  then  turned  upon  other 
subjects,  and  soon  afterward  he  took  his  leave.  I 
never  saw  him  more.  Dr.  Griswold's  statement 
'  that  Mr.  Kennedy  accompanied  him  (Poe)  to  a 
clothing  store  and  purchased  for  him  a  respectable  suit, 
with  a  change  of  linen,  and  sent  him  to  a  bath,'  is  a 
sheer  fabrication. 

"  That  I  heard  of  him  again  and  again,  and  year 
after  year,  in  common  with  all  English-speaking  people, 
more  and  more,  it  is  unnecessary  to  say  —  heard  of 
him  in  terms  of  praise  sometimes,  sometimes  in  terms 
of  censure,  as  we  all  have  done,  until  now,  that  he  has 
passed  away,  leaving  his  fame  behind  him,  to  last  while 
our  language  lasts,  I  have  grown  to  think  of  him  only 
as  the  author  who  gave  to  the  world  the  '  Raven ' 
and  the  '  Bells,'  and  many  a  gem  beside  of  noble 
verse ;  who  illustrated  that  power  of  the  English 
tongue  in  prose  composition  not  less  logical  than  im 
aginative  ;  and  I  forget  the  abuse,  whether  with  or 
without  foundation,  that  ignorance,  prejudice,  or 
envy  has  heaped  upon  his  memory.  Unfortunately  in 
the  first  biography  following  his  death,  where  the 
author,  with  a  temper  difficult  to  understand,  actually 
seemed  to  enjoy  the  depreciation  of  the  poet's  life, 
Edgar  Allan  Poe  was  seen  by  a  malignant  eye,  and 

110  EDGAlfc   ALLAN    POE. 

his  story  was  told  by  an  unkindly  tongue  ;  and  the 
efforts  since  made  by  friends  to  do  him  justice  are 
slowly  succeeding  in  demonstrating  that  there  was  in 
him  an  amount  of  good  which,  in  all  fairness,  should 
be  set  off  against  that  which  we  must  regret  while  we 
attempt  to  palliate. 

"  To  Poe,  there  well  may  be  applied  the  verse  of  one 
of  the  most  gifted  of  oar  poetesses,  addressed  to  a  great 
name  in  a  very  different  sphere  : 

"  *  The  moss  upon  thy  memory,  no  I 

Not  while  one  note  is  sung 
Of  those  divine,  immortal  lays 

Milton  and  Shakspeare  sung  5 
Not  till  the  gloom  of  night  enshroud 

The  Anglo-Saxon  tongue.'  " 

Poe  of  course  became  the  talk  of  the  town.  Mr. 
Kennedy  (author  of  "Swallow  Barn,"  recently  pub 
lished,  and,  later,  of  "  Horse-Shoe  Robinson,"  and 
other  works)  immediately  interested  himself  in  the 
forlorn  young  genius,  invited  him  to  dinner,  gave  him 
clothing  and  free  access  to  his  house  and  table,  and 
"brought  him  up,"  as  he  records  in  his  diary,  "from 
the  very  verge  of  despair." 

In  a  letter  often  quoted,  but  which  never  loses  its 
intense  pathos,  Poe  wrote  to  Kennedy  at  this  time  : 

"  Your  invitation  to  dinner  has  wounded  me  to  the 
quick.  I  cannot  come  for  reasons  of  the  most  humili 
ating  nature  —  my  personal  appearance.  You  may 
imagine  my  mortification  in  making  this  disclosure  to 
you,  but  it  is  necessary." 

The  other  judges  also,  Messrs.  Latrobe  and  Miller, 
were  kind  to  him,  and  he  sustained  himself  precari- 


From  an  engraving  in  the  possession  of  Amelia  F.  Poe. 


ously  by  "jobs  "  for  the  "  Visiter,"  and  for  Mr.  Ken 
nedy.  Wilmer  was  his  frequent  companion  in  walks 
and  talks  about  the  suburbs,  and  testifies,  as  we  have 
noted,  to  his  good  conduct.  He  was  living  with  his 
aunt  Mrs.  Clemm,  who  had  married  a  widower, 
William  Clemm,  with  a  son  and  a  daughter.  The 
lady  is  said  to  have  supported  herself  by  teaching  and 
dressmaking,  and  to  have  resided  first  in  Wilkes  Street 
and  then  at  No.  3  Amity  Street,  Baltimore.  There 
is  no  reason  to  doubt  Poe's  statement  that  the  "  MS. 
Found  in  a  Bottle"  was  written  and  "  Politian  "  al 
ready  begun,  in  1831. 

We  now  approach  one  of  the  most  vexed  and  ob 
scure  controversies  of  Poe's  vexed  existence  —  his 
rupture  with  the  Allans.  We  are  fortunately  enabled 
for  the  first  time  to  give  an  authentic  statement  of  the 
events  from  a  member  of  the  Allan  family,  giving  the 
Allan  version  of  the  affair. 

Mr.  Allan  died  of  dropsy  March  27,  1834.  Three 
children  had  been  born  to  him  by  the  second  marriage, 
and  the  birth  of  these  children  had  of  course  been  a 
death-blow  to  Poe's  hopes  of  becoming  Mr.  Allan's 
heir.  Still  some  lingering  expectation  of  one  kind  or 
another  must  have  haunted  the  poet's  brain,  for  while 
Mr.  Allan  was  ill  he  appeared  in  Richmond  and  went 
to  the  house,  having  been  there  previously  only  once 
in  four  years.  In  justice  to  Mrs.  Allan,  who  was  a 
most  estimable  woman,  and  who  apparently  had  never 
seen  Poe  but  once,  we  print  —  perhaps  indiscreetly  — 
the  following  letter  from  her  niece  as  giving  her  side  of 
the  unfortunate  occurrence,  premising  that  in  certain 
.Virginia  circles  the  view  prevails  to  this  day  that  Poe 
was  utterly  bad,  that  on  his  return  from  the  University 
he  gambled  with  Mr.  Allan's  servants,  and  that  when 

112  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

he  demanded  money  of  one  of  the  Allan  ladies,  he 
stoned  the  house  and  smashed  the  windows  on  being 
refused  ;  adding,  however,  that  the  same  accusation  of 
forgery  was  brought  against  Poe,  later,  in  Philadelphia, 
was  tried  in  a  court  of  justice,  and  triumphantly  refuted, 
heavy  damages  being  awarded  the  poet  : 

"  I  am  afraid  I  can  give  you  very  little  assistance 
about  Edgar  Allan  Poe,  for  he  has  been  so  often 
written  up,  and  there  are  none  of  his  contemporaries 
now  living  that  I  know  of,  and  all  that  I  could  write 
you  would  be  family  tradition,  and  that,  you  know,  is 
not  always  authentic.  Mr.  John  Allan  had  no  chil 
dren  during  his  first  marriage,  and  after  he  adopted 
Poe  he  became  as  devoted  to  him  and  as  proud  of  his 
talents  as  if  he  were  his  own  son,  sparing  no  expense 
on  his  education,  dress,  and  living.  Poe,  expecting 
to  be  his  heir,  began  at  the  University  a  wild  and 
reckless  career,  and  was  guilty  of  conduct  so  unbecom 
ing  a  gentleman  that  it  offended  Mr.  Allan  seriously. 
That,  however,  did  not  break  the  ties  that  had  so 
long  existed,  and  Mr.  Allan  tried  in  every  way  to 
reform  him.  Poe,  however,  continued  the  same  dis 
solute  life,  breaking  good  resolutions  and  promises  often 
and  over,  and  ended  by  forging  Mr.  Allan's  name. 
The  money  was  paid,  but  then  it  was  that  Poe  was 
discarded  and  forbidden  the  house  of  his  benefactor, 
and  all  intercourse  was  refused.  Mr.  Allan  married, 
secondly,  my  aunt,  Miss  Patterson  of  New  Jersey, 
and  she  told  me  that  Poe  had  never  been  to  their  house 
but  twice,  and  she  only  saw  him  once.  It  was  when 
her  eldest  son  was  three  weeks  old.  He  came  up 
stairs  to  her  bedroom,  and  began  in  an  abusive  manner 
to  rail  at  herself  and  baby.  She  asked  her  nurse  to 
ring  the  bell.  It  was  answered  by  the  butler,  and 


she  said  :  '  James,  put  this  drunken  man  out  of  the 
house,'  which  he  did.  The  next  time  he  visited  the 
house  must  have  been  about  four  years  afterwards,  for 
it  was  during  the  last  illness  of  Mr.  Allan.  He  was 
sitting  in  a  large  chair  trying  to  read  a  newspaper 
when  the  door  opened,  and  Poe  came  in.  Mr.  Allan 
became  very  much  excited,  shook  his  cane  at  him,  and 
ordered  him  out  of  the  house,  using  very  strong  lan 
guage,  for  he  had  never  forgiven  him,  and  whether  he 
came  to  plead  for  forgiveness,  or  to  upbraid,  no  one 
knew,  for  the  old  gentleman  did  not  give  him  a  chance 
to  say  a  word.  My  aunt  always  felt  it  bitterly  that 
the  public  so  often  blamed  her  for  the  estrangement 
when  she  had  nothing  to  do  with  it,  and  rarely  spoke 
of  him.  Of  course  these  things  happened  long  before 
my  day." 

The  palliation  for  such  conduct  could  only  be  the 
unfortunate  manner  in  which  the  orphan  waif  had  been 
reared.  Bitter  indeed  must  have  been  the  anguish  and 
despair  of  such  a  spirit  as  Poe's  on  finding  himself  thus 
publicly  cut  off  without  even  a  mention  in  the  will, 
the  laughing-stock  of  the  town  where  he  had  lived 
nearly  all  his  life.  In  a  moment  of  supreme  agitation 
he  was  doubtless  misled  to  commit  acts  which  in  cold 
blood  would  have  been  atrocious,  and  this  must  be  his 

Thrown  upon  his  own  resources,  Poe  despairingly 
turned  to  a  Philadelphia  publishing  house  (Carey  & 
Lea),  and  sent  them  the  "Tales  of  the  Folio  Club," 
following  his  friend  Kennedy's  advice  ;  and,  consult 
ing  with  Wilmer,  he  and  the  young  editor  of  the 
"  Visiter "  determined  to  issue  the  prospectus  of  a 
first-class  literary  journal,  of  the  usual  "  fearless,  inde 
pendent,  and  sternly  just  "  kind,  an  ideal  about  which 
VOL.  i.  —  8 


Poe  at  least  was  really  in  earnest,  and  which  he 
cherished  up  to  his  dying  breath. 

Virginia  Clemm,  meanwhile,  —  the  poet's  cousin, 
—  had  developed  into  a  beautiful  girl  of  twelve  or 
thirteen,  whose  charms,  intelligence,  and  refinement 
had  captivated  the  heart  of  Edgar,  thirteen  years  older. 
A  proposition  of  marriage  followed,  which  was  strenu 
ously  opposed  by  Neilson  Poe,  a  third  cousin,  who 
had  married  Virginia's  step-sister,  and  who  offered  to 
care  for  Virginia  until  she  was  of  a  suitable  age  to 
marry.  This  Poe  vigorously  opposed,  and,  with  Mrs. 
Clemm' s  consent,  they  were  licensed  to  marry,  accord 
ing  to  the  Marriage  Records  of  the  City  of  Baltimore, 
September  22,  1834.  The  records  of  St.  Paul's 
Church  Parish,  Baltimore,  show  that  Virginia  Clemm 
was  born  August  22,  1822. 

Whether  the  marriage  was  actually  performed  by  a 
minister,  after  the  license  was  obtained,  cannot  be  pos 
itively  ascertained.  An  unfounded  tradition  affirms 
that  Rev.  John  Johns  (afterwards  Bishop  of  Virginia) 
performed  the  ceremony  ;  but  the  writer  has  taken 
the  trouble  to  make  careful  inquiries  of  the  Johns 
family,  as  well  as  of  the  registrar  of  St.  Paul's  Church, 
with  the  following  result : 

Bishop  Johns's  son  writes  : 

WASHINGTON,  D.  C.,  Nov.  2,  1900. 

MY  DEAR  SIR,  —  Replying  to  your  favor  of  Nov. 
ist,  let  me  say  that  the  records  of  marriages  performed  by 
Rev.  Dr.  Johns,  in  Balto.,  are,  I  presume,  to  be  found 
at  Christ  Church,  Balto.,  Rev.  Dr.  Niver,  rector.  .  .  . 
We  have  no  traditions  or  other  information. 
Very  truly, 

A.  S.  JOHNS. 



CHRIST  CHURCH,  Nov.  9th,  1900. 

DEAR  SIR, — There  is  no  record  of  Poe' s  marriage 
in  the  books  of  Christ's  Church  in  the  years  1834,  5,  or  6. 

I  would  suggest  that  you  write  to  Dr.  Hodges  at  St. 
Paul's  Church.  They  may  have  it  recorded  there,  as 
Christ's  Church  is  a  daughter  of  St.  Paul's  Church. 

ROBERT  B.   NELSON,  Assistant. 

BALTIMORE,  Nov.  15,  1900. 

MY  DEAR  SIR,  — Your  letter  of  the  i2th  inst.  to 
Rev.  Dr.  Hodges,  rector  of  St.  Paul's  Parish,  has  been 
handed  to  me,  as  Registrar  of  the  Parish,  for  reply  in 
reference  to  the  marriage  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe  and  Vir 
ginia  Clemm. 

In  reply  I  would  say  that  as  long  ago  as  Sept.,  1884, 
I  made  a  careful  examination  of  the  Records  of  St.  Paul's 
Parish  for  Mr.  Geo.  E.  Woodberry,  who  was  about  to 
publish  a  life  of  E.  A.  Poe,  and  then  told  him  that  no 
record  of  Poe's  marriage  appeared  in  our  books,  though 
there  were  several  records  of  the  Clemm  family.  I  forget 
now  the  year  of  the  marriage,  but  think  it  was  prior  to 
1828  [an  error  :  1834  was  the  year.  —  ED.],  for  in  that 
year  Christ  Church  was  set  off  from  St.  Paul's  Parish, 
and  any  marriage  after  that  time  should  appear  in  Christ 
Church  Records,  and  not  in  ours.  .  .  . 
Yours  truly, 


There  is  no  complete  legal  proof  that  the  marriage 
took  place,  because  there  is  no  return  of  the  minister 
officiating.  This  is  doubtless  the  reason  why,  some 
months  later,  May  16,  1836,  as  seen  in  the  marriage 
bond,  a  second  license  was  secured,  and  the  ceremony 
was  performed  in  Richmond,  Va.,  by  the  Rev.  Amasa 
Converse,  a  Presbyterian  minister  who  edited  fe  The 
Southern  Religious  Telegraph." 


The  cause  of  the  removal  to  Richmond  at  this  time 
was  the  establishment  of  the  famous  "  Southern  Liter 
ary  Messenger,"  and  Poe's  engagement,  first  as  a 
casual  contributor  to  the  magazine,  and  then  as  its 
literary  editor. 

This  engagement  had  been  brought  about  by  the 
kind  offices  of  his  good  friend  Kennedy,  to  whom  T. 
W.  White,  editor  and  proprietor  of  the  "  Messenger," 
had  written  for  a  contribution,  and  who  recommended 
Poe  as  a  very  remarkable  young  man. 

Poe  sent  White  some  of  his  "  Tales  of  the  Folio 
Club,"  one  of  which — "Berenice"  (not,  how 
ever,  one  of  those  named  below)  —  appeared  in  the 
number  for  March,  1835,  attracting  wide  attention. 
The  stories  known  to  have  been  among  "  The  Tales 
of  the  Folio  Club"  were  the  "MS.  Found  in  a 
Bottle,"  "  Lionizing,"  "  The  Visionary  ("  Assigna 
tion"),"  "Siope,"  "Epimanes,"  and  "A  Descent 
into  the  Maelstrom  "  (the  latter  on  the  authority  of 
Mr.  J.  H.  B.  Latrobe,  in  Miss  Rice's  Baltimore  Me 
morial  Volume,  p.  59).  Poe  seems  to  have  had  ten 
other  "  Tales  of  the  Folio  Club  "  ready,  which  he 
did  not  use  in  the  competition  :  t(  Berenice"  (above 
mentioned),  "  Morella,"  "  Hans  Phaall  "  (so  spelled 
in  the  "Messenger"  for  June,  1835,  though  re 
peatedly,  in  his  correspondence,  with  one  /  only), 
"Bon-Bon,"  "Shadow,"  "Loss  of  Breath,"  "King 
Pest,"  "  Metzengerstein,"  "Due  de  1' Omelette," 
and  "A  Tale  of  Jerusalem." 

These  tales  must  have  been  those  described  by 
Mr.  J.  P.  Kennedy  in  his  note  to  Poe's  letter  of  No 
vember,  1834,  as  tnen  m  tne  hands  of  Carey  &  Lea, 
of  Philadelphia,  for  consideration  :  "  being  two  series 
submitted  for  the  prize,  for  which  one  was  chosen, 


and  two  others  at  my  suggestion  sent  to  Carey  & 

One  of  these  tales  was  sold  to  Miss  Leslie,  for  the 
"  Souvenir,"  at  $i  5.  Letters  dated  December,  1834, 
and  March,  May,  June,  and  July,  1835,  show  the 
author  in  lively  correspondence  with  Kennedy  and 
White  on  matters  largely  pertaining  to  his  new  con 
nection  with  the  "  Messenger"  as  critical  reviewer. 
In  one  of  these  letters  to  White  he  writes  :  "  I  must 
insist  on  your  not  sending  me  any  remuneration  for  ser 
vices  of  this  nature  [aiding  the  circulation  of  the 
"  Messenger  "  by  notices  in  the  Baltimore  "  Repub 
lican,"  "American,"  etc.].  They  are  a  pleasure  to 
me,  and  no  trouble  whatever." 

Occasional  sums  from  White  of  $5  or  $20  reached 
Poe  through  the  mails,  and  were  welcome  additions  to 
his  purse.  Number  10  of  the  "Messenger"  con 
tained  thirty-four  columns  by  the  new  contributor, 
including  "  Hans  Pfaall  "  (which,  he  asserts,  "was 
written  especially  for  the  '  Messenger'  "). 

In  September,  1835,  his  correspondence  shows  that 
he  was  already  in  Richmond,  probably  at  Mrs.  Yar- 
rington's  boarding-house,  and,  a  little  later,  was  receiving 
a  salary  of  $520  a  year  as  editor  of  the  "  Messenger," 
increased  to  $800  by  Mr.  White's  liberality  for  extra 
work.  This  was  to  be  still  further  increased  to  $  1,000 
the  next  year.  He  writes  exultantly  that  "his  friends 
had  received  him  with  open  arms,"  asks  Kennedy's 
advice  as  to  his  course  in  the  "  Messenger,"  and  finds 
that  his  reputation  is  increasing  in  the  South. 

Already,  however,  a  note  of  warning  sounds  from 
White  in  September,  1835.  "No  man  is  safe  that 
drinks  before  breakfast.  No  man  can  do  so  and  attend 
to  business  properly."  Poe  was  beginning  to  complain 


of  "ill-health,"  and  had  contracted  this  unfortunate 
habit  of  morning  potations,  either  from  the  delicacy  of 
his  constitution  or  from  the  hereditary  "  blue  devils  " 
from  which  he  suffered.  Just  after  his  arrival  in 
Richmond,  indeed,  when  everything  seemed  bright, 
and  he  had  been  employed  by  White  at  something 
more  than  $4.0  a  month,  he  fell  into  low  spirits,  and 
wrote  Kennedy  a  despairing  letter  in  which  he  says  : 
"I  am  suffering  under  a  depression  of  spirits,  such  as 
I  have  never  felt  before.  I  have  struggled  in  vain 
against  the  influence  of  this  melancholy  ;  you  will 
believe  me,  when  I  say  that  I  am  still  miserable,  in 
spite  of  the  great  improvement  in  my  circumstances. 
...  I  am  wretched,  and  know  not  why.  Con 
sole  me,  —  for  you  can.  But  let  it  be  quickly,  or  it 
will  be  too  late.  .  .  .  Persuade  me  to  do  what  is  right. 
.  .  .  Urge  me  to  do  what  is  right.  .  .  .  Fail  not,  as 
you  value  your  peace  of  mind  hereafter." 

Kennedy  replied  in  consoling  words  and  lulled  the 
rasped  spirit  of  the  poet  as  well  as  he  could,  fearing 
that  the  constitutional  hypochondria  might  drive  him 
to  desperation.  In  later  life  Poe  affirmed  that  to  Ken 
nedy  he  owed  life  itself,  possibly  referring  to  the  ad 
mirable  conduct  of  the  Baltimore  novelist  in  lending 
him  money  at  critical  periods  of  his  existence  and 
giving  him  the  sound  advice  which  he  so  much  needed. 

The  bibliography  of  Poe's  writings  will  show  the 
variety  and  multiplicity  of  his  work  during  the  eighteen 
months  he  resided  in  Richmond,  two  whole  volumes 
alone  of  the  present  edition  being  devoted  to  the  uncol- 
lected  reviews  and  essays  in  the  "Messenger."  He 
showed  himself  a  most  industrious  and  indefatigable 
editor,  author,  and  critic,  pouring  forth  a  tide  of  re 
views,  critiques,  poems  (revised  or  original),  stories, 

RICHMOND,  VA.  (1902). 

Poe  edited  the  "Messenger"  here  from  December,  1836,  to  January, 
1817.  The  back  building  adjoining-  was  occupied  by  Allan  &  Ellis, 
tobacconists,  the  firm  in  which  Poe's  "foster-father"  was  senior 

J  Hfi|pffii< 



satires,  and  romances  such  as  hardly  any  two  men 
could  have  been  expected  to  supply.  These  are 
treated  more  fully  in  the  following  chapter  and  show 
the  epoch-making  character  of  Poe's  work  as  an  imagi 
native  writer  and  scientific  critic. 

In  the  early  stage  of  the  Richmond  period,  after  the 
marriage,  the  Poes  seem  to  have  kept  house  and  taken 
boarders,  borrowing  money  from  Kennedy  and  the 
Poe  family  to  establish  themselves.  The  evil  habit  of 
borrowing  began  to  grow  on  Poe  in  spite  of  the  abun 
dant  support  his  "Messenger"  connection  gave  him. 
One  is  loath,  however,  to  believe  that  there  was  any 
sharp  practice  connected  with  it.  That  Poe  abun 
dantly  understood  the  humorous  side  and  the  practices 
of  the  "dead  beat"  is  plain  from  his  "Diddling 
Considered  as  One  of  the  Exact  Sciences." 

120  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 




THE  last  leaf  of  the  t(  Southern  Literary  Messen 
ger  "  for  January,  1837,  contained  the  following 
announcement : 

To  the  Patrons  of  the  Southern  Literary  Messenger  : 

"  In  issuing  the  present  number  of  the  '  Messen 
ger*  (the  first  of  a  new  volume)  I  deem  it  proper  to 
inform  my  subscribers,  and  the  public  generally,  that 
Mr.  Poe,  who  has  filled  the  editorial  department  for 
the  last  twelve  months  with  so  much  ability,  retired 
from  that  station  on  the  3d  inst.,  and  the  entire  man 
agement  of  the  work  again  devolves  on  myself  alone. 
Mr.  P.,  however,  will  continue  to  furnish  its  columns, 
from  time  to  time,  with  the  effusions  of  his  vigorous 
and  popular  pen,  —  and  my  old  contributors,  among 
whom  I  am  proud  to  number  some  of  the  best  writers 
in  our  state  and  country,  will  doubtless  continue  to 
favor  me  with  their  valuable  contributions.  .  .  . 

"  It  is  perhaps  due  to  Mr.  Poe  to  state,  that  he  is 
not  responsible  for  any  of  the  articles  which  appear  in 
the  present  number,  except  the  reviews  of  'Bryant's 
Poems,'  'George  Balcombe,'  'Irving's  Astoria,'  «  Rey 
nolds' s  Address  on  the  South  Sea  Expedition,'  '  An- 
thon's  Cicero,'  —  the  first  number  of  'Arthur  Gordon 
Pym,'  a  sea  story,  and  two  poetical  effusions  to  which 


his  name  is  prefixed.'  .  .  . — RICHMOND,  January 
26,  1837. 

In  an  earlier  number,  for  December,  1835,  the 
publisher  had  said  : 

"Among  these  [contributors],  we  hope  to  be  par 
doned  for  singling  out  the  name  of  Mr.  EDGAR  A.  POE  ; 
not  with  design  to  make  any  invidious  distinction,  but 
because  such  a  mention  of  him  finds  numberless  prece 
dents  in  the  journals  on  every  side,  which  have  rung 
the  praises  of  his  uniquely  original  vein  of  imagination, 
and  of  humorous,  delicate  satire." 

Page  72  of  the  "Southern  Literary  Messenger" 
for  January,  1837,  contained  a  foot-note  printed  in 
small  type  attached  to  the  review  of  "  Anthon's  Cic 
ero,"  to  the  following  effect : 

"  Mr.  Poe's  attention  being  called  in  another  direc 
tion,  he  will  decline,  with  the  present  number,  the 
Editorial  duties  on  the  'Messenger.'  His  Critical 
Notices  for  this  month  end  with  Professor  Anthon's 
'  Cicero ' —  what  follows  is  from  another  hand.  With 
the  best  wishes  to  the  Magazine,  and  to  its  few  foes  as 
well  as  many  friends,  he  is  now  desirous  of  bidding  all 
parties  a  peaceable  farewell." 

Whatever  may  have  been  the  cause  of  the  "  peace 
able  farewell,"  — the  rupture  between  Poe  and  White, 
—  it  is  absolutely  incredible  that  it  could  have  been  the 
"idleness"  or  ''irregularity"  of  the  former,  for  in 
this  final  number  for  January,  1837,  fully  one-third  of 
the  ninety-six  pages  is  occupied  by  the  eight  contribu 
tions  of  the  poet-critic,  nor  is  it  correct  to  say  (Wood- 
berry,  103)  that  "Poe  furnished  no  more  installments 
of  his  serial  narrative,  '  Arthur  Gordon  Pym,'  which 
had  just  been  begun  in  '  The  Messenger.'  ' 

The  very  next  number  of  the   "Messenger,"   for 

122  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

February,  1837,  contains  over  fifteen  columns  more  of 
the  serial  narrative!  Quis  credat  ? 

The  previous  two  years  of  the  "Messenger"  had 
been  crowded  —  enriched  beyond  compare  —  with  a 
prodigious  variety  of  work  from  Foe's  ever-fertile,  ever- 
flying  pen.  If  he  ventured  to  republish  occasionally 
what  had  appeared  in  his  first  three  timid,  scarce,  and 
unknown  volumes  of  1827,  1829,  and  1831,  he  sel 
dom  reproduced  an  old  poem  without  embellishing  it 
and  reducing  it  to  a  shape  and  form  that  have  re 
mained  incomparable.  The  literary  perfection  which 
he  demanded  from  his  contemporaries  was  no  less 
sternly  exacted  from  his  own  writings  :  with  the 
result  that  he  has  yet  to  be  convicted  of  a  tech 
nical  error  in  his  finished  works.  The  1827  volume 
of  Foe  was  suppressed  immediately  after  its  pub 
lication  by  C.  F.  S.  Thomas  of  Boston,  and  is  now 
so  rare  that  the  McKee  copy  sold  in  New  York, 
November,  1900,  for  $2,050.  The  1829  "  Al 
Aaraaf,  Tamerlane,  and  Minor  Poems"  became 
almost  as  great  a  rarity,  and  the  West  Point  "Poems  " 
of  1831 — in  which  the  forty  pages  of  1827  had 
grown  to  one  hundred  and  twenty-four  —  are  like 
wise  a  bibliographical  rarity,  doubtless  even  more 
so  then  than  now  when  an  occasional  copy  can  be 
picked  up  at  a  fabulous  price. 

To  the  "Messenger"  for  1834—35  (beginning 
August,  1834,  and  extending  to  September,  1835) 
Poe  contributed  nine  articles;  in  the  "Messenger" 
for  1835-36  (from  December  to  the  following  No 
vember)  Poe  had  no  less  than  eighteen  contributions  ; 
and  in  the  volume  for  1837,  nine  contributions,  many 
of  them  of  great  length,  appear  by  him :  an  almost  in 
credible  array  of  work  for  a  young  man  of  "idle," 


"drunken,"  and  "irregular"  habits,  encumbered 
with  a  delicate  wife  and  mother-in-law  ! 

Of  the  fourteen  long  prose  pieces  contributed  during 
these  three  years,  seven  are  Poe  classics:  "A  MS. 
Found  in  a  Bottle";  "  Berenice  ";  «  Morella  "  ; 
"Hans  Pfaall  "  ;  "The  Visionary  (Assignation)  "; 
"Shadow";  "  Metzengerstein "  ;  seven  are  the  re 
markable  "A  Tale  of  Jerusalem,"  "  Lionizing," 
"  Bon-Bon,"  "  Loss  of  Breath,"  "  King  Pest," 
"Due  de  F Omelette,"  and  "Four  Beasts  in  One 
(Epimanes)  ". 

Besides  this  striking  abundance  of  prose  master 
pieces,  some  of  which  have  placed  themselves  among 
the  rarest  prose-poems  in  the  language,  there  were 
numerous  metrical  poems  in  their  early  stages —  "  The 
Coliseum,"  "  Irene,"  "  Politian,"  "  Israfel," 
"Paean,"  "To  Helen,"  "To  Science,"  "The 
Valley  of  Nis,"  and  others:  enough  to  make  in  all 
an  average  of  four  each  month  during  the  period  of 
Poe's  incumbency  as  editor. 

There  is  no  doubt,  however,  that  Poe  was  ad 
dicted  to  drugs  and  stimulants  at  irregular  intervals 
and  under  strong  temptations.  That  he  was  either  an 
habitual  drunkard  or  an  habitual  opium-eater  is  con 
tradicted  both  by  the  unanimous  testimony  of  his 
intimate  friends  —  those  who  really  knew  him — and 
by  the  piles  of  exquisitely-written  manuscript,  manu 
script  written  at  all  hours  of  the  day  and  night,  under 
all  circumstances  of  good  and  bad  health,  hurriedly  or 
deliberately,  that  have  remained  behind  to  attest  a 
physical  condition  absolutely  the  opposite  of  that  of  a 
victim  of  delirium  tremens^  No  opium  sot,  no 

1  The  author  (who  had  formed  this  view  independently)  was  glad 
to  see  it  confirmed  by  Mr.  Appleton  Morgan,  ' '  The  Personality  of 

124  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

habitual  victim  of  spirituous  liquors,  could  have  written 
this  firm,  clear,  steady,  delightfully  legible  feminine 
hand- writing.  Poe's  case  has  never  been  scientifically 
diagnosed  by  a  competent  neurologist  who  possessed 
the  combined  pathological  and  literary  equipment  and 
freedom  from  prejudice  necessary  to  render  his  case  — 
more  singular  than  "The  Case  of  M.  Valdemar  "  — 
intelligible  to  the  reading  world.  Poe  himself  comes 
nearest  to  it  in  his  ghastly  tale  of  "Hop- Frog,"  in 
which  he  describes  —  autobiographically,  one  cannot 
but  think  —  the  frightful  effects  of  a  single  glass  of  wine 
on  the  deformed  cripple.  His  brain  was  always  at 
fever-heat,  a  volcano  raging  with  inward  fires  and  full 
of  the  molten  lava  of  nervous  irritability  :  to  add  a 
single  drop  of  external  stimulant  to  it  was  to  cause  it  to 
overflow,  and  destroy  or  ravage  everything  within  reach. 
There  are  temperaments  that  come  into  the  world  in 
toxicated,  like  the  "  God-intoxicated  Spinoza" — so 
brimming  with  spiritual  fire  that  there  is  no  room  for 
anything  more.  Such  temperaments  are  perilously 
allied  to  hysteria  and  madness,  but  one  needs  only  to 
glance  over  the  literary  annals  of  the  globe  to  pick 
out  the  Sapphos,  the  Lucans,  the  Tassos,  the  Pascals, 
the  Burnses,  the  Holderlins,  the  Collinses.  That  Poe 
maintained  his  absolute  sanity  to  the  last,  and  increased 
the  lofty  reasonableness  and  perfection  of  his  style  up  to 
the  very  gates  of  Death,  is  an  historical  fact  illuminative 
alike  to  the  literary  historian  and  the  pathologist. 

Poe's  position,  first  as  contributor  to  the  "Messen 
ger,"  then  as  its  editor,  had  never  been  a  bed  of  roses. 
Almost  at  the  outset  a  confidential  correspondent  of 

Poe"  {Munsey'' s  Magazine,  July,  1897),  and  by  the  experts  in 
handwriting  to  whom  he  submitted  Poe's  MSS. 


Mr.  T.  W.  White  (its  proprietor)  wrote  to  him  as 
follows : 

"June  22,  1835.  James  M.  Garnett,  Essex,  to 
Mr.  Thomas  W.  White,  Editor  'South.  Lit.  Mess.' 
With  respect  to  Mr.  Poe,  if  I  am  to  judge  by  his  last 
communication,  I  should  determine  that  he  will  rather 
injure  than  benefit  your  Paper.  His  sole  object  in  this 
seems  to  be,  to  inform  your  Readers  how  many  Authors 
he  knows,  —  at  least  by  name.  That  he  may  be 
'  a  scholar  of  the  very  highest  grade '  I  will  not 
question  ;  but  it  is  not  always  the  best  scholars  that 
write  best,  or  have  the  best  taste  and  judgment.  Read 
his  piece  over  again,  and  I  think  you  will  agree  with 
me  that  it  has  neither  wit  nor  humor;  or  that  if  it  has 
any,  it  lies  too  deep  for  common  understanding  to  follow 
it."  (MS.  letter  in  the  Virginia  Historical  Society's 
Library,  Richmond,  Va.) 

Envy  and  jealousy  followed  the  gifted  and  unfor 
tunate  man  wherever  he  went,  and  Richmond  was  no 
exception.  That  he  did  splendid  and  epoch-making 
work  for  White  was  shown  in  the  enormous  increase 
(from  700  -to  5,000)  in  circulation  of  the  magazine 
and  the  great  attention  that  was  paid  to  its  literary  and 
critical  judgments  all  over  the  North  and  South. 

Mr.  White  himself  was  an  excellent  man  and  busi 
ness  manager  who  had  the  sense  to  see  the  value  of 
Poe  to  his  journal  and  to  retain  these  invaluable  services 
as  long  as  he  could. 

Of  Mr.  White  himself  Dr.  B.  B.  Minor  (one  of  the 
editors  of  the  "Messenger")  writes  the  author  under 
date  of  November  16,  1900  : 

"  Mr.  Thomas  W.  White,  founder  and  proprietor 
of  the  'Southern  Literary  Messenger,'  was  not  a  man 
of  education  or  self-culture;  but  a  practical  printer. 

126  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

He  was  small  and  of  unprepossessing  presence  ;  yet 
pleasant,  kind-hearted,  and  conciliatory  :  so  that  he 
could  enlist  others  in  what  he  proposed  to  them.  In 
establishing  the  '  Messenger,'  he  probably  had  an  ad 
vantage  that  he  would  not  have  had  as  a  literary  man. 
He  had  a  printing  office  and  needed  only  patronage 
enough  to  pay  him  for  a  good  monthly  job.  In  ap 
pealing  to  the  pride  and  patriotism  of  our  people,  which 
he  did  sincerely,  he  could  evoke  the  assistance  and  co 
operation  of  literary  men.  Thus  he  obtained  for  a 
whole  year,  gratuitously,  the  faithful  and  efficient  edi 
torial  services  of  Mr.  James  E.  Heath,  grandfather  of 
Professor  Richard  Heath  Dabney.  Mr.  Heath  had 
a  good  salary  as  2nd  Auditor  of  the  State  of  Virginia 
and  could  and  did  afford  to  help  Mr.  White's  ap 
proved  enterprise. 

"  Mr.  Heath  was  recognized  as  a  literary  man  and 
had  published  a  Virginian  novel  entitled  (I  think) 
'Edge  Hill.'  I  would  like  to  read  it  again.  Mr. 
White  could  write  a  very  good  and  coaxing  letter  and 
drew  other  influential  men  to  the  support  of  his  praise 
worthy  adventure.  At  first  he  announced  himself  as 
'printer  and  proprietor'  of  the  'Messenger.' 

"In  Vol.  II.  he  announced  himself  'proprietor,' 
but  said  that  the  '  intellectual  department  was  under 
the  conduct  of  the  proprietor,  assisted  by  a  gentleman 
of  distinguished  literary  talents.'  He  also  said  :  «  The 
gentleman  referred  to  in  the  gth  Number  of  the  '  Mes 
senger  '  as  filling  its  Editorial  chair,  retired  thence 
with  the  nth  Number.' 

"In  Vol.  I.,  No.  9,  p.  481,  most  cordial  thanks 
are  given  to  the  gentleman  (Mr.  Heath)  who  had  up 
to  that  time  rendered  gratuitously  such  valuable 
services  to  the  '  Messenger,'  and  it  was  stated  that  '  an 


Editor  of  acknowledged  capacity  had  been  engaged, 
who  would  devote  his  whole  attention  to  the  work.' 
This  was  the  person  who  so  soon  retired,  —  with  the 
i  ith  Number.  I  do  not  know  who  this  was.  I  be 
lieve  that  Lucian  Minor  was  of  great  assistance  to  Mr. 
White,  after  both  Mr.  Heath  and  Mr.  Poe.  Mr. 
White  thought  all  the  world  of  Mr.  Lucian  Minor 
and  the  '  Messenger '  once  gave  him  the  highest  sort 
of  notice.  I  think  it  was  in  connection  with  Mr. 
Minor's  Eulogy  on  Professor  John  A.  G.  Davis  and 
his  fine  picture  of  a  Model  Lawyer. 

e<  As  early  as  Vol.  III.,  Mr.  White  announced 
himself  as  '  Editor  and  Proprietor,'  and  continued  to 
do  so.  He  died  January  19,  1843,  in  the  fifty-fifth 
year  of  his  age.  He  was  a  native  of  Virginia,  but 
was  engaged  for  some  time  as  a  printer  in  Boston, 
which  may  have  been  a  benefit  to  him  in  his  subse 
quent  work  in  Richmond.  It  was  once  stated  some 
where  that  he  was  a  Northern  man,  but  he  had  this 
corrected  in  the  '  Messenger,'  which  declared  that  he 
was  a  Tuckahoe. 

"  Mr.  White's  Editors  were  James  E.  Heath, 
Lucian  Minor,  Edgar  A.  Poe  ;  Judge  Henry  St. 
George  Tucker,  for  a  short  time,  upon  the  testimony 
of  Colonel  Thomas  H.  Ellis  ;  and  Lieutenant  Mathew 
F.  Maury,  U.  S.  N.  I  must  have  become  acquainted 
with  him  soon  after  I  settled  in  Richmond,  in  1841. 
Mr.  John  W.  Fergusson  has  reminded  me  that  he  took 
to  my  law  office  proof-sheets  which  Mr.  White  sent 
and  asked  me  to  correct  for  the  '  Messenger.'  My 
first  contribution  was  published  in  January,  1842, 
and  must  have  been  written  some  time  before.  It  was 
in  behalf  of  my  Alma  Mater,  the  University  of  Vir 
ginia,  and  was  edited  by  Lieutenant  Maury,  as  his 
writing  on  the  MS.  plainly  shows.  I  still  have  it." 


Mr.  White's  daughter,  Eliza,  to  whom  Poe  ad 
dressed  the  stanzas  "To  Eliza,''  was  said  to  be  a 
beautiful  girl  who  visited  the  Clemms  and  Poes  after 
they  removed  to  Philadelphia,  and  afterwards  became 
a  well-known  Shaksperian  reader,  dying  unmarried  in 
1888,  seventy-six  years  of  age. 

After  the  severance  of  his  connection  with  the 
"  Messenger,"  in  January,  1837,  Poe  is  found  some 
months  after  in  New  York,  at  a  Carmine  Street  house 
numbered  with  the  unfortunate  figure  113^.  It 
will  be  remembered  that  he  occupied  the  dormitory 
No.  i  3  West  Range,  while  he  was  at  the  University, 
a  fact  in  which  the  superstitious  seers  of  signs  and 
wonders  may  revel. 

The  house  was  a  wretched  wooden  shanty,  abun 
dantly  large  for  the  little  party  of  three  and  a  few 
boarders  whom  the  indefatigable  Mrs.  Clemm  decided 
to  take  as  a  help  in  the  household  expenses. 

Invaluable  testimony  as  to  Poe's  sobriety  at  this 
time  is  rendered  by  one  of  these  boarders,  a  Mr. 
William  Gowans,  "  the  wealthy  and  eccentric  bibli- 
opolist,"  who  lived  eight  months  with  the  Pbes  in  the 
Carmine  Street  house. 1  Mr.  Gowans  joins  N.  P. 
Willis,  Frances  Sargent  Osgood,  George  R.  Graham, 
and  many  others  with  whom  Poe  was  intimately  asso 
ciated  in  social  life  and  in  literary  office  work,  in  the 
assertion  that  he  was  never  otherwise  seen  than  as  the 
courteous  and  perfect  gentleman  whose  manners,  to 
women  especially,  were  almost  reverential,  and  to  his 
employers  habitually  respectful  and  considerate. 

In  his  letter  Mr.  Gowans  says  : 

"  For  eight  months  or  more  '  one  house  contained 
us,  as  one  table  fed.'  During  that  time  I  saw  much 

1  New  York  Evening  Mail,  December,  1870  ;  Ingram,  I.,  143. 


of  him,  and  had  an  opportunity  of  conversing  with 
him  often,  and  I  must  say,  that  I  never  saw  him  the 
least  affected  with  liquor,  nor  even  descend  to  any 
known  vice,  while  he  was  one  of  the  most  courteous, 
gentlemanly,  and  intelligent  companions  I  have  met 
with  during  my  journeyings  and  haltings  through  divers 
divisions  of  the  globe  ;  besides,  he  had  an  extra  induce 
ment  to  be  a  good  man  as  well  as  a  good  husband,  for 
he  had  a  wife  of  matchless  beauty  and  loveliness ;  her 
eye  could  match  that  of  any  houri,  and  her  face 
defy  the  genius  of  a  Canova  to  imitate  ;  a  temper  and 
disposition  of  surpassing  sweetness  ;  besides,  she 
seemed  as  much  devoted  to  him  and  his  every  interest 
as  a  young  mother  is  to  her  first-born.  .  .  .  Poe 
had  a  remarkably  pleasing  and  prepossessing  counte 
nance,  what  the  ladies  would  call  decidedly  hand 


Poe  himself  had  carefully  trained  the  beautiful  young 
Baltimore  girl,  and  under  his  loving  and  patient  tuition — 
reversing  the  position  of  Morella  and  Ligeia,  whose 
"  profound  erudition"  instructed  their  husbands  —  she 
became  an  expert  linguist.  Her  mother  speaks  of  her 
rare  musical  powers  and  beautiful  voice : 

"  Of  all  the  women  I  have  ever  known,  she,  the 
outwardly  calm,  the  ever-placid  Ligeia  [that  mingled 
reminiscence  of  wife  and  mother]  was  the  most 
violently  a  prey  to  the  tumultuous  vultures  of  stern 
passion.  And  of  such  passions  1  could  form  no  esti 
mate,  save  by  the  miraculous  expression  of  those  eyes 
which  at  once  so  delighted  and  appalled  me  —  by  the 
almost  magical  melody,  modulation,  distinctness,  and 
placidity  of  her  very  low  voice." 

"Eddie,"  declares  Mrs.  Clemm,  "  was  domestic 
in  all  his  habits,  seldom  leaving  home  for  an  hour  un- 
VOL.  i.  —  Q 


less  his  darling  Virginia,  or  myself,  were  with  him.  He 
was  truly  an  affectionate,  kind  husband,  and  a  devoted 
son  to  me.  He  was  impulsive,  generous,  affectionate, 
and  noble.  His  tastes  were  very  simple,  and  his  ad 
miration  for  all  that  was  good  and  beautiful  very  great. 
.  .  .  We  three  lived  only  for  each  other."  J 

And  here  again  arises  the  exquisite  form  of  Eleonora 
—  the  loveliest  of  all  Poe's  fable-autobiographies: 

"  She  whom  I  loved  in  youth,  and  of  whom  I  now 
pen  calmly  and  distinctly  these  reminiscences,  was  the 
sole  daughter  of  the  only  sister  of  my  mother  long  de 
parted.  Eleonora  was  the  name  of  my  cousin.  We 
had  always  dwelled  together  beneath  a  tropical  sun, 
in  the  Valley  of  the.  Many-Colored  Grass.  No  un- 
guided  footstep  ever  came  upon  the  vale  ;  for  it  lay  far 
away  up  among  a  range  of  giant  hills  that  hung  bee 
tling  around  about  it,  shutting  out  the  sunlight  from  its 
sweetest  recesses.  No  path  was  trodden  in  its  vicinity  ; 
and,  to  reach  our  happy  home,  there  was  need  of  put 
ting  back,  with  force,  the  foliage  of  many  thousands  of 
forest  trees,  and  of  crushing  to  death  the  glories  of 
many  millions  of  fragrant  flowers. 

"  Thus  it  was  that  we  lived  all  alone,  knowing  noth 
ing  of  the  world  without  the  valley, —  I,  and  my 
cousin,  and  her  mother." 

With  this  we  may  combine  two  other  autobio 
graphic  touches  —  for  Poe  may  best  be  interpreted  by 
himself —  one  from  "  Berenice,"  the  other,  the  remark 
able  opening  lines  of  "  Eleonora  "  : 

"I  am  come  of  a  race  noted  for  vigor  of  fancy  and 
ardor  of  passion.  Men  have  called  me  mad  ;  but  the 
question  is  not  yet  settled,  whether  madness  is  or  is  not 
the  loftiest  intelligence  :  whether  much  that  is  glorious, 

1  Ingram,  I  ,  146. 


whether  all  that  is  profound,  does  not  spring  from 
disease  of  thought,  —  from  moods  of  mind  exalted  at 
the  expense  of  the  general  intellect.  They  who  dream 
by  day  are  cognizant  of  many  things  which  escape 
those  who  dream  only  by  night.  In  their  gray  visions 
they  obtain  glimpses  of  eternity,  and  thrill,  in  awaking, 
to  find  that  they  have  been  on  the  verge  of  the  great 
secret.  In  snatches,  they  learn  something  of  the  wis 
dom  which  is  of  good,  and  more  of  the  mere  knowl 
edge  which  is  of  evil.  They  penetrate,  however 
rudderless  or  compassless,  into  the  vast  ocean  of  the 
*  light  ineffable  '  ;  and  again,  like  the  adventures  of 
the  Nubian  geographer,  '  agressi  sunt  mare  tenebrarum, 
quid  in  eo  esset  exploraturiS 

"We  will  say,  then,  that  I  am  mad.''  {Eleo- 
nora. ) 

"  To  muse  for  long  unwearied  hours,  with  my  at 
tention  riveted  to  some  frivolous  device  on  the  margin 
or  in  the  typography  of  a  book  ;  to  become  absorbed, 
for  the  better  part  of  a  summer's  day,  in  a  quaint 
shadow  falling  aslant  upon  the  tapestry  or  upon  the  floor ; 
lose  myself,  for  an  entire  night,  in  watching  the  steady 
flame  of  a  lamp  or  the  embers  of  a  fire  ;  to  dream  away 
whole  days  over  the  perfume  of  a  flower  ;  to  repeat, 
,  monotonously,  some  common  word,  until  the  sound, 
by  dint  of  frequent  repetition,  ceased  to  convey  any 
idea  whatever  to  the  mind  ;  to  lose  all  sense  of  motion 
or  physical  existence,  by  means  of  absolute  bodily 
quiescence  long  and  obstinately  persevered  in  :  such 
were  a  few  of  the  most  common  and  least  pernicious 
vagaries  induced  by  a  condition  of  the  mental  faculties, 
not,  indeed,  altogether  unparalleled,  but  certainly  bid 
ding  defiance  to  anything  like  analysis  or  explanation." 

132  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

Here  is  Poe  drawing  his  own  silhouette  out  of  the 
cloudland  of  memory  and  self-analysis  :  the  dreamer, 
the  poet,  the  madman,  the  monomaniac,  if  you  will, 
passionately  addicted  to  revery,  as  passionately  as  the 
Hindoo  who  fixes  his  lifelong  glance  on  the  mystic 
lotus,  the  ineffable  flower,  that  lifts  its  chalice  above 
the  slime  of  Life  ;  the  ardent  lover,  the  remnant  of  an 
ancient  race  feverishly  enamored  of  the  Beautiful,  the 
solitary  deluged  with  poetic  visions,  whose  eye  for  the 
Unknown  is  almost  celestially  clear,  while  every  step 
in  the  Actual  is  a  stumble. 

"  Berenice  and  I  were  cousins,  and  we  grew  up 
together  in  my  paternal  halls.  Yet  differently  we 
grew  —  I,  ill  of  health,  and  buried  in  gloom  —  she, 
agile,  graceful,  and  overflowing  with  energy  ;  hers,  the 
ramble  on  the  hill-side  —  mine,  the  studies  of  the 
cloister  ;  I,  living  within  my  own  heart,  and  addicted, 
body  and  soul,  to  the  most  intense  and  painful  medita 
tion  —  she,  roaming  carelessly  through  life,  with  no 
thought  of  the  shadows  in  her  path,  or  the  silent  flight 
of  the  raven-winged  hours.  Berenice  !  —  I  call  upon 
her  name  —  Berenice  !  and  from  the  gray  ruins  of 
memory  a  thousand  tumultuous  recollections  are  startled 
at  the  sound.  Ah,  vividly  is  her  image  before  me  now, 
as  in  the  early  days  of  her  light-heartedness  and  joy  ! 
O  gorgeous  yet  fantastic  beauty  !  O  sylph  amid  the 
shrubberies  of  Arnheim  !  O  Naiad  among  its  foun 
tains  !  And  then  —  then  all  is  mystery  and  terror, 
and  a  tale  which  should  not  be  told.  Disease,  fatal 
disease,  fell  like  the  simoom  upon  her  frame ;  and  even 
while  I  gazed  upon  her,  the  spirit  of  change  swept  over 
her,  pervading  her  mind,  her  habits,  her  character,  and 
in  a  manner  the  most  subtle  and  terrible,  disturbing 
even  the  identity  of  her  person." 


Here  is  the  premonition  of  the  ill  husband,  solitary, 
introspective,  Hamlet-like  in  his  profuse  soliloquizing  on 
Death  and  the  Eternal,  —  a  more  than  Werther  in  the 
fiery  intensity  of  his  monologue,  —  and  of  the  mortally 
stricken  wife  ten  or  twelve  years  before  the  dread 
catastrophe  of  his  illness  and  her  death  came  to  pass, 
—  a  prophetic  realization,  in  advance,  of  what  was  to 
happen  in  I  847. 

The  early  New  York  period  was  devoted  to  the 
completion  of  "  The  Narrative  of  Arthur  Gordon 
Pym,"  a  story  of  an  Antarctic  Cruise  as  far  south  as 
the  84th  parallel,  made  up  of  equal  ingredients  of  Poe, 
"The  Ancient  Mariner,"  and  Benjamin  MorelPs 
"Narrative  of  Four  Voyages  to  the  South  Seas  and 
Pacific"  (New  York:  1832:  pp.  183  seq.}.  To 
give  realism  to  the  adventures,  Poe  paraphrased  Morell 
largely  as  to  facts,  but  had  only  to  draw  on  his  own 
marvellous  imagination  to  explain  them  or  to  conceive 
situations  full  of  graphic  horror  and  exquisite  though 
terrible  landscape-painting,  alternately  Claudelike  and 
Salvatoresque  in  their  poetic  or  their  supernatural 
beauty.  Such  was  the  realism  of  the  narrative  that 
it  was  taken  for  genuine  and,  after  its  appearance  in 
book  form  in  1838,  it  was  reprinted  by  the  Putnams 
in  England. 

The  period  from  1838  to  1844  Poe  and  his  little 
family  spent  in  Philadelphia,  then  the  literary  metrop 
olis  of  the  Union.  While  he  was  in  Richmond  he 
is  said  to  have  received  an  invitation  from  Dr.  F.  L. 
Hawks  of  North  Carolina  to  come  to  New  York  and 
collaborate  with  him  on  the  newly  projected  "  New 
York  Review."  His  one  contribution  to  this  theo 
logical  quarterly  —  then  in  the  throes  of  the  financial 
panic  of  1837—38  — was  a  review  of  Stephens' 

134  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

"Travels  in  Arabia  Petraea,"  partly  original,  partly 
compiled  from  the  book  itself  and  from  Keith's  work 
on  Prophecy.  Professor  Anthon  contributed  the 
Hebrew  learning  of  the  article. 

In  a  faded  and  time-stained  copy  of  the  "  Baltimore 
Book"  for  1839,  edited  by  W.  H.  Carpenter  and  T. 
S.  Arthur,  now  lying  before  us,  we  find  : 

Siope  —  A  Fable. 

[In  the  manner  of  the  Psychological  Autobiographists] 
By  Edgar  Poe. 

Ours  is  a  world  of  words  :   Quiet  we  call 
Silence  —  which  is  the  merest  word  of  all. 

(At  Aaraaf.) 

—  the  earliest  form  of  an  allegory  which  is  perhaps 
Poe's  most  majestic  piece  of  prose,  worthy  of  Jean  Paul 
Richter  in  its  music  and  magnificence.  This  earliest 
form  of  the  fable  is  destitute  of  the  fine  lines  from  the 
Greek  of  Alcman  and  their  English  interpretation  by 
Poe,  found  in  later  editions,  and  shows  that  "  Arthur 
Gordon  Pym  "  did  not  wholly  occupy  the  poet's  time 
at  this  period. 

Philadelphia  in  the  late  thirties  and  forties  was  an 
interesting  place  intellectually.  Here  the  first  monthly 
magazine,  the  first  daily  newspaper,  the  first  religious 
magazine,  the  first  religious  weekly,  the  first  penny 
paper,  mathematical  journal,  juvenile  magazine,  and 
illustrated  comic  paper,  ever  published  in  the  United 
States,  had  started  on  their  career  about  the  middle  of 
the  eighteenth  century. 

We  have  several  pleasant  glimpses  of  the  Poes  dur 
ing  this  period  of  their  sojourn  in  Philadelphia,  even 

13IOGRAPHY.  [35 

Griswold  paying  a  tribute  to  the  beauty  of  their  home 

"  It  was  while  he  resided  in  Philadelphia  that  I 
became  acquainted  with  him. 

"  His  manner,  except  during  his  fits  of  intoxication, 
was  very  quiet  and  gentlemanly.  He  was  usually 
dressed  with  simplicity  and  elegance,  and  when  once 
he  sent  for  me  to  visit  him,  during  a  period  of  illness 
caused  by  protracted  and  anxious  watching  at  the  side 
of  his  sick  wife,  I  was  impressed  by  the  singular  neat- 
iess  and  the  air  of  refinement  in  his  home. 

"  It  was  in  a  small  house  in  one  of  the  pleasant  and 
silent  neighborhoods  far  from  the  centre  of  the  town, 
and  though  slightly  and  cheaply  furnished,  everything 
in  it  was  so  tasteful  and  so  fitly  disposed  that  it  seemed 
altogether  suitable  for  a  man  of  genius." 

"The  residence  described,"  adds  Gill,1  "was  a 
small,  brick  tenement  in  North  Seventh  Street,  in 
that  part  of  the  city  then  known  as  Spring  Garden. 
The  house  was  on  the  rear  portion  of  the  lot,  leaving 
a  large  vacant  space  in  front,  affording  Poe  and  his 
gentle  invalid  wife  opportunity  for  indulging  their  pen 
chant  for  plants  and  flowers." 

Mr.  C.  W.  Alexander,  publisher  of  the  "Gentle 
man's  Magazine,"  and  a  founder  of  the  Philadelphia 
"Saturday  Evening  Post,"  wrote  a  year  after  Poe's 
death  of  his  association  with  him  on  the  magazine  : 

"  I  had  long  and  familiar  intercourse  with  him,  and 
very  cheerfully  embrace  the  opportunity  which  you 
now  offer  of  bearing  testimony  to  the  uniform  gentle 
ness  of  disposition  [italics  Mr.  A.'s]  and  kindness  of 
heart  which  distinguished  Mr.  Poe  in  all  my  inter- 

1  Life  of  Edgar  A.  Poe,  p.  1005   Chatto  and  Windus:  1878. 

136  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

course  with  him.  With  all  his  faults,  he  was  a  gentle 
man  ;  which  is  more  than  can  be  said  of  some  who 
have  undertaken  the  ungracious  task  of  blacking  the 
reputation  which  Mr.  Poe,  of  all  others,  esteemed  the 
'  precious  jewel  of  his  soul.' 

"That  Mr.  Poe  had  faults,"  he  continues,  "seri 
ously  detrimental  to  his  own  interests,  none,  of  course, 
will  deny.  They  were,  unfortunately,  too  well 
known  in  the  literary  circles  of  Philadelphia,  were 
there  any  disposition  to  conceal  them.  But  he  alone 
was  the  sufferer,  and  not  those  who  received  the  bene 
fit  of  his  pre-eminent  talents,  however  irregular  his 
habits  or  uncertain  his  contributions  may  occasionally 
have  been." 

There  is  a  continuous  array  of  testimony  of  this 
kind,  acknowledging  indeed  Poe's  infirmities  —  though 
there  is  far  from  unanimity  as  to  these,  some  absolutely 
denying  them  —  but  almost  universally  emphasizing 
his  essential  goodness  of  heart.  His  continual  necessi 
ties  made  him  an  incessant  borrower,  and  his  accounts 
occasionally  became  entangled  ;  but  no  one  familiar 
with  his  published  and  unpublished  correspondence 
will  deny  his  equally  incessant  anxiety  to  pay  his 
whole  indebtedness  to  the  very  last  penny. 

Another  pleasing  glimpse  of  the  domestic  life  of  the 
Poes  at  this  time  is  given  by  one  who  knew  them 

"  Their  little  garden  in  summer,  and  the  house  in 
winter,  were  overflowing  with  luxuriant  grape  and 
other  vines,  and  liberally  ornamented  with  choice 
flowers  of  the  poet's  selection.  Poe  was  a  pattern  of 
social  and  domestic  worth.  It  was  our  happiness  to 
participate  with  them  in  the  occasional  enjoyment  of 
the  beauty  of  the  flowers,  and  to  watch  the  enthusiasm 


with  which  the  fondly  attached  pair  exhibited  their 
floral  taste.  Here,  too,  we  were  wont  to  participate 
in  the  hospitality  which  always  rendered  Foe's  home 
the  home  of  his  friends.  We  call  to  mind  some  inci 
dents  in  the  pleasantly  remembered  intercourse  that 
existed  between  the  ladies  of  our  families,  especially  in 
the  hours  of  sickness,  which  rendered  so  much  of  Vir 
ginia's  life  a  source  of  painful  anxiety  to  all  who  had 
the  pleasure  of  knowing  her,  and  of  witnessing  the 
gradual  wasting  away  of  her  fragile  frame. 

"  But  she  was  an  exquisite  picture  of  patient  love 
liness,  always  wearing  upon  her  beautiful  countenance 
the  smile  of  resignation,  and  the  warm,  ever-cheerful 
look  with  which  she  ever  greeted  her  friends. 

"  How  devotedly  her  husband  loved  the  gentle 
being  is  touchingly  illustrated  in  the  Griswold  descrip 
tion  of  his  visit  [quotation].  .  .  .  This,  coming 
from  the  malignant  Griswold,  is  an  eloquent  tribute 
to  the  kindly  and  tender  spirit  of  Poe,  whose  devotion 
no  adversity,  not  even  the  fiend  that  haunted  him  in 
the  fatal  cup,  could  warp  or  lessen,  and  this  attachment, 
intense  as  it  was,  was  equally  strong  and  enduring  in 
the  soul  of  his  'Annabel  Lee,'  his  gentle  mate, 
whose  affection  that  poem  so  touchingly  and  sadly 
commemorates : 

"  *  And  this  maiden,  she  lived  with  no  other  thought 
Than  to  love  and  be  loved  by  me.' 

"  '  She  was  a  child,'  sings  the  poem;  and,  indeed, 
Poe  himself  was  little  else  in  the  everyday  perplexities 
and  responsibilities  of  life.  On  leaving  Philadelphia 
for  New  York,  when  breaking  up  their  simple,  fairy- 
like  home,  we  were  favored  with  some  of  their  pet 
flowers,  which,  preserved  and  framed,  remain  in  our 

138  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

household  to  this  day  as  interesting  relics  of  those 
happy  days  with  Edgar  and  Virginia." 

The  author  of  this  pretty  pen-picture  of  the  Poe 
home  life  was  T.  Cottrell  Clarke,  first  editor  of  the 
famous  Philadelphia  "  Saturday  Evening  Post,"  which 
had  been  founded  in  1821  by  Atkinson  &  Alexander 
and  was  published  in  the  office  once  occupied  by  Ben 
jamin  Franklin,  back  of  No.  53  Market  Street. 

In  fact,  no  one  ever  came  very  near  the  Poes 
without  being  struck  by  the  wholesomeness,  sanity, 
beauty,  and  brightness  of  their  surroundings.  The 
direst  poverty  might  reign  —  as  it  did  through  life  — 
in  their  immediate  vicinity,  yet  there  is  none  of  the 
squalor  or  moral  degradation,  irresponsibility  or  seedy 
neglect  which  the  health  of  both  husband  and  wife 
and  the  frequent  extremity  of  their  needs  might  well 
have  excused.  The  Imp  of  the  Perverse  ruled  there 
rarely,  only  as  the  Imp  of  the  Cup  —  the  hereditary 
fiend  which  William  Poe,  his  cousin,  in  a  well-known 
letter  to  Edgar,  declared  to  be  "a  great  enemy  to  our 
family  "  : 

"  There  is  one  thing  I  am  anxious  to  caution  you 
against,  and  which  has  been  a  great  enemy  to  our 
family,  —  I  hope,  however,  in  your  case,  it  may  prove 
unnecessary,  — '  a  too  free  use  of  the  bottle.'  "  1 

In  Philadelphia  it  was  Poe's  singular  fortune  to  fall 
in  with  the  Good  and  the  Evil  Angel  of  his  life  — 
with  George  R.  Graham  and  Rufus  Wilmot  Griswold 
—  two  persons  whose  influence  on  his  career  during 
critical  periods  was  profound  and  far-reaching.  The 
dead  French  Academician  is  usually  eulogized  by  his 
successor  ;  the  dead  man  of  letters  is  sometimes  kicked 
by  his  expected  eulogist. 

1   Century  Magazine,  Sept.,  1894,  p.  737. 


From  engraving  by  Armstrong  of  portrait  by  Read. 


The  story  of  s(  Graham's  Magazine,"  which  exer 
cised  an  influence  on  American  ante-bellum  letters  un 
equalled  by  any  other  periodical,  not  even  excepting 
the  younger  "Atlantic  Monthly,"  is  condensed  by 
Mr.  A.  H.  Smyth  from  Mr.  Graham's  own  lips,  as 
follows : l 

"  Graham  was  the  owner  and  editor  of  '  Atkinson's 
Casket,'  when,  in  1841,  William  E.  Burton,  the 
actor,  came  to  him  with  the  request  that  he  should  buy 
'  The  Gentleman's  Magazine,'  of  which  Burton  had 
been  the  proprietor  for  four  years.  Burton  explained 
that  money  was  needed  for  his  new  theatre,  that  the 
magazine  must  be  sold,  that  it  numbered  3,500  sub 
scribers,  and  that  it  would  be  sold  outright  for  $3, 500. 
Graham,  who  at  that  time  had  1,500  subscribers  to 
his  own  magazine,  accepted  the  offer,  and  '  The 
Gentleman's  Magazine '  was  transferred  to  him. 
'  There  is  one  thing  more,'  said  Burton,  « I  want  you 
to  take  care  of  my  young  editor.'  That '  young  editor  ' 
who,  in  this  manner,  entered  the  employ  of  George 
Graham  was  Edgar  Allan  Poe." 

Mr.  Graham  bore  clear  and  willing  testimony  to  the 
efficient  service  rendered  by  Poe  to  the  new  magazine, 
which,  now  combined  with  the  "Casket,"  took  the 
name  of  its  new  owner.  From  5,000  subscribers,  the 
number  soon  increased  to  over  37,000  (Smyth), — 
certainly  a  good  sign  of  a  new  editor  !  Graham  found 
little  in  Poe's  conduct  to  reprove,  nor  did  he  remem 
ber  (continues  Mr.  Smyth)  any  cause  beyond  envy 
and  malice  for  Griswold's  truculent  slanders.  A 
quarrel  of  an  hour  led  to  Poe's  dismissal,  but  the 
friendly  relations  between  the  poet  and  his  former  em- 

1  A.  H.  Smyth  :  Philadelphia  Magazines  and  their  Contribu 
tors:  1892. 

140  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

ployer  remained  unsevered.  From  New  York,  Poe 
sent  Graham  the  manuscript  of  a  story  for  which  he 
asked  and  received  $50.  The  story  remained  unpub 
lished  for  a  year,  when  Poe  again  appeared  in  the 
editorial  room  and  begged  for  the  return  of  the  manu 
script,  that  he  might  try  with  it  for  the  prize  of  $  i  oo 
offered  by  the  "  Dollar  Magazine  "  for  the  best  prose 
tale.  Graham  showed  his  <f  love  and  friendship  "  for 
the  author  by  surrendering  the  story,  and  the  judges 
awarded  to  Poe  the  prize  for  "  The  Gold-Bug." 

The  "Dollar  Magazine"  began  its  career  in 
January,  1843,  and  its  publishers  were  the  publishers 
of  the  "  Ledger."  When  George  W.  Childs  pur 
chased  the  "Ledger,"  he  bought  also  the  "Dollar 
Magazine,"  and  changed  its  name  to  the  "Home 
Weekly  and  Household  Newspaper."  In  it  Haw 
thorne  published,  in  1851,  "The  Unpardonable 

Meanwhile,  after  the  resignation  of  Poe,  the  maga 
zine,  still  under  Graham's  management,  was  edited  by 
Ann  S.  Stephens  and  Charles  J.  Peterson,  until  Rufus 
Wilmot  Griswold  sat  in  the  responsible  chair.  James 
Russell  Lowell  was  a  subordinate  editor  of  the  maga 
zine  as  early  as  1 843  and  invited  Hawthorne,  at  the 
instance  of  Poe,  to  become  a  contributor.  Graham 
himself  took  a  large  hand  in  the  editorial  conduct  of 
his  magazine,  though  after  Gris wold's  dismissal,  the 
well-known  critic  E.  P.  Whipple  wrote  the  editorial 
reviews  of  more  important  books. 

Beginning  with  Volume  XVIII.,  being  the  addition 
of  the  ten  volumes  of  Atkinson's  "  Casket,"  and  the 
seven  volumes  of  Burton's  "  Gentleman's  Magazine," 
Graham's  first  volume,  in  1841,  was  distinguished  by 
the  appearance  of  Poe's  "Descent  into  the  Mael- 


strom,"  and  his  "Murders  in  the  Rue  Morgue.''  On 
the  cover  of  Volume  XXI.,  1 842,  appears  the  name  of 
Griswold;  and  Bayard  Taylor  and  Charles  Godfrey 
Leland  were  successive  editors. 

According  to  Graham's  own  statement  (Smyth, 
223),  the  circulation  of  the  magazine  at  the  height 
of  its  popularity  never  exceeded  35,000,  or  37,000. 
He  sold  the  magazine  in  1 848,  but  bought  it  back  in 
1849,  parting  with  it  definitely  only  in  1854. 

No  publication  of  the  day,  on  this  side  of  the  water, 
had  so  many  and  such  remarkable  contributors,  Wash 
ington  Irving  being  the  only  prominent  literary  Ameri 
can  of  the  day  who  held  aloof.  He  was  the  editor  of 
the  rival  "  Knickerbocker,"  which  is  said  jealously  to 
have  guarded  the  productions  of  its  one  great  writer. 
In  "Graham's"  appeared  Longfellow's  "  Spanish 
Student,"  "Belfry  of  Bruges,"  "Nuremberg," 
"Childhood,"  "The  Arsenal  at  Springfield,"  and 
other  poems.  Hawthorne's  "Twice-Told  Tales" 
largely  appeared  first  in  "Graham's."  George  D. 
Prentice,  Fanny  Forrester,  Alice  and  Phoebe  Cary, 
Grace  Greenwood,  William  Gilmore  Simms,  Miss 
Sedgwick,  Frances  S.  Osgood,  N.  P.  Willis,  J.  K. 
Paulding,  Park  Benjamin,  W.  W.  Story,  Charles 
Fenno  Hoffman,  and  Albert  Pike  (of  "  Isadore  " 
fame)  were  among  the  writers  who  aided  to  surround 
the  new  venture  with  a  halo  of  literary  glory. 

And  this  glory  came  from  Graham's  honest  recog 
nition  of  the  fact  that  his  contributors  must  be  well 
paid  :  the  first  American  magazine  manager  that  recog 
nized  such  business  responsibilities.  The  popularity  of 
the  new  magazine,  under  the  new  management  and 
with  such  a  corps  of  contributors,  was  almost  instan 

142  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

The  other  —  the  Evil  —  angel  of  Poe's  life  was 
Griswold,  who  succeeded  him  in  the  editorial  chair 
of  "Graham's." 

The  Rev.  Rufus  Wilmot  Griswold,  D.D.,  was  a 
Baptist  minister  who  divided  his  time  between  literature 
and  religion.  Born  in  Vermont  in  1815,  he  was  of 
excellent  Puritan  and  English  lineage,  with  marked 
literary  tastes  and  acquirements  and  so  indefatigable  as 
a  compiler  and  editor  that  though  dying  at  the  early 
age  of  forty-two,  in  1857,  he  left  behind  an  immense 
mass  of  work  in  history,  memoirs,  editions,  and  com 
pilations  creditable  to  his  taste  and  skill.  Among  the 
journals  he  edited  were  "The  New  Yorker,"  "The 
Brother  Jonathan,"  "  The  New  World,"  "Graham's 
Magazine"  (1842-1 843),  and  "The  International 
Magazine."  His  contributions  to  journalism  alone 
would  fill  a  dozen  octavo  volumes,  while  he  wrote  six 
or  eight  independent  works  on  history,  biography, 
philosophy,  and  theology,  with  poems,  and  a  novel. 

But  the  work  which  of  all  others  has  endowed 
Griswold' s  name  with  immortality  —  an  "  immortality 
of  infamy,"  as  George  R.  Graham  calls  it  —  is  <(  The 
Works  of  Edgar  A.  Poe  ;  Poems,  Tales,  and  Miscel 
lanies  ;  with  a  Memoir;"  two  vols.,  1849,  followed 
by  a  third  containing  the  notorious  suppressed  biogra 
phy,  and  a  fourth,  completing  the  publication. 

All  the  authorities  of  the  time  gave  unstinted  praise 
to  Griswold  as  a  compiler ;  the  poet  Campbell, 
Whipple,  Irving,  Poe,  Prescott  the  historian,  Bryant, 
Tuckerman,  and  other  eminent  literati  praised  the 
collections  dedicated  to  the  American  poets  and  prose 
writers  of  the  first  jubilee  of  the  century,  works  which 
are,  indeed,  invaluable  for  the  facts  they  contain  and 
for  what  they  have  rescued  from  oblivion.  Griswold 


From  engraving. 

in  1857,  1 
i i story,  me. 
;  to  his  taste  an 
were  "The  N 
*  "The  New  V 



possessed,  too,  a  brilliant  and  pungent  style,  which 
reveals  itself  often  in  the  Poe  Memoir  and  a  critical  gift 
—  delicate,  incisive,  penetrating  —  of  no  mean  order. 
With  all  the  masculine  strength  and  untiring  industry 
that  he  displayed  was  mingled,  however,  one  soft,  one 
weak  spot :  he  believed  himself  to  be  a  poet ;  and  on 
this  spot  Poe  —  as  might  have  been  expected  —  in 
fallibly  put  his  finger. 

But  in  contrasting  these  good  and  evil  demons  of 
Poe's  existence  so  much  at  length,  the  conscientious 
biographer  should  not  overlook  the  smaller  but  likewise 
significant  agencies  that  contributed  to  mould  and 
round  out  existence  for  him  at  this  time. 

Among  these  were  Dr.  N.  C.  Brooks  of  Baltimore 
and  his  "American  Museum,"  published  in  the  Mon 
umental  City,  "The  Gift"  (Miss  Leslie's  "An 
nual"),  the  Pittsburg  "Literary  Examiner,"  and 
Burton's  "Gentleman's  Magazine." 

Instead  of  writing  a  review  of  Irving,  whom  he  did 
not  like  but  considered  an  "overrated  writer"  of 
"surreptitious  and  adventitious  reputation,"  of  "tame 
propriety  and  faultlessness  of  style"  — as  Dr.  Brooks 
had  requested  him  —  Poe  sent  the  freshest  and  most 
powerful  of  his  tales  —  the  dream- tale  "Ligeia,"  said 
on  the  margin  of  Ingram's  copy,  in  a  MS.  note, 
to  have  been  dreamed,  like  Kubla  Khan,  while  he 
was  asleep. 

In  December,  1838,  Poe  contributed  to  "The 
American  Museum,"  "The  Signora  Zenobia,"  and 
"The  Scythe  of  Time"  (rechristened,  later,  "How 
to  Write  a  Blackwood  Article,"  and  "A  Predica 

"The  Gift"  for  1839  energized  him  into  writing 
his  story  of  dualism,  the  favorite  Doppelganger  idea 

144  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

of  German  literature,  "William  Wilson, "  in  which 
he  dramatizes  Conscience  and  makes  it  subordinate 
to  the  animal  nature.  The  old  balladry  of  England 
and  Germany  is  full  of  the  story  of  the  man  of  two 
natures  so  loosely  amalgamated  that  they  slip  asunder  and 
the  evil  one  goes  forth  to  roam  at  the  midnight  hour, 
or  the  good  one  fiercely  incarnates  itself  and  confronts 
the  other  :  ideas  as  old  as  the  ancient  Persian  dualism 
of  Light  and  Darkness,  of  Ormuzd  and  Ahriman  dallied 
with  by  Shelley,  and  Hawthorne,  and  Calderon,  and 
Stevenson,  and  Goethe  (whose  Faust  and  Mephisto 
appear  simply  radiations  of  the  good  and  the  evil  in  a 
naturally  combined  Fanst-Mephisto) .  Poe  has  artisti 
cally  slipped  the  razorlike  edge  of  his  analysis  in  be 
tween  these  twin  natures,  separated  their  sutures  without 
the  spilling  of  blood,  and  set  them  adrift  as  marvellous 
automata,  to  play  over  against  each  other. 

"The  Museum"  for  April  contained  "The 
Haunted  Palace,"  and  the  "  Gentleman's  Magazine" 
for  September  "  The  Fall  of  the  House  of  Usher," 
two  masterpieces  which  by  a  sort  of  magnetic  affinity 
ultimately  ran  together  and  were  combined  in  one  story. 
Of  this  combined  masterpiece  Lowell  said  in  "Gra 
ham's"  for  February,  1845: 

"As  an  example  of  his  style  we  would  refer  to  one 
of  his  tales,  'The  House  of  Usher,'  in  the  first  vol 
ume  of  his  '  Tales  of  the  Grotesque  and  the  Arabesque.' 
It  has  a  singular  charm  for  us,  and  we  think  that  no  one 
could  read  it  without  being  strongly  moved  by  its 
serene  and  sombre  beauty.  Had  its  author  written 
nothing  else  it  would  alone  have  been  enough  to 
stamp  him  as  a  man  of  genius,  and  the  master  of  a 
classic  style.  In  this  tale  occurs  one  of  the  most  beau 
tiful  of  his  poems.  It  loses  greatly  by  being  taken  out  of 


its  rich  and  appropriate  setting,  but  we  cannot  deny 
ourselves  the  pleasure  of  copying  it  here.  We  know 
no  modern  poet  who  might  not  have  been  justly  proud 
of  it."  [Here  he  quotes  "  The  Haunted  Palace,"  and 
adds  :] 

"  Was  ever  the  wreck  and  desolation   of  a  noble 
mind  so  musically  sung  ?" 

In   a   note    evidently  inspired   by  Poe   himself  this 
number  of  "  Graham's  "  (p.  52)   says  : 

"  Since  the  publication  of  the  'Tales  of  the  Gro 
tesque  and  Arabesque,'  Mr.  P.  has  written,  for  this 
and  other  journals,  the  following  tales,  independently 
of  essays,  criticisms,  etc.  :  '  The  Mystery  of  Marie 
Roget/  'Never  Bet  Your  Head'  [sit],  <  A  Tale  of 
the  Ragged  Mountains,'  'The  Masque  of  the  Red 
Death/  'The  Colloquy  of  Monos  and  Una,'  'The 
Landscape  Garden  '  [stf],  *  The  Pit  and  the  Pendu 
lum/  ' The  Tell-Tale  Heart,'  'The  Black  Cat,'  'The 
Man  of  the  Crowd,'  'The  System  of  Doctors  Tarr 
and  Fether'  [sic],  'The  Spectacles,'  'The  Elk,' 
<  The  Business  Man,'  '  The  Premature  Burial/  '  The 
Oblong  Box/  '  Thou  Art  the  Man/  '  Eleonora/ 
'  Three  Sundays  in  a  Week/  '  The  Island  of  the  Fay/ 
'Life  in  Death/  'The  Angel  of  the  Odd/  'The  Lit 
erary  Life  of  Thingum-Bob/  '  The  Descent  into  the 
Maelstrom/  'The  looz-Tale  of  Scheherazade/ 
'Mesmeric  Revelation,'  'The  Murders  in  the  Rue 
Morgue/  'The  Purloined  Letter/  and  « The  Gold- 
Bug.'  He  is  also  the  author  of  the  late  Balloon- 
Hoax.  The  '  Grotesque  and  Arabesque '  included 
twenty-five  tales." 

"The  Haunted  Palace"   appeared  in   April,   and 
in    the    following    November    appeared  Longfellow's 
«'  Beleaguered  City  "  in  the  "  Southern  Literary  Mes- 
VOL.  i.  — 10 

146  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

senger."  A  furious  controversy  arose  in  which  Poe 
accused  the  New  England  poet  of  stealing  his  idea. 
The  reader  may  judge  for  himself  by  comparing  the 
two  poems. 

There  was  no  reason  for  Poe's  jealousy  of  Long 
fellow  since  the  poems  are  as  unlike  as  charcoal  and 
diamond.  Poe  never  seems  to  have  realized  that  he 
could  not  be  plagiarized,  that  he  was  too  unique  and 
original  to  be  copied,  that  Poe  could  not  under  any 
circumstances  be  Longfellow.  The  pretty  and  pic 
turesque  conceit  of  "The  Beleaguered  City,"  is  as 
different  from  the  glory  and  ghostliness  of  "The 
Haunted  Palace"  as  the  solemn,  almost  insane  head 
of  Dante  is  from  that  of  a  cherub  afloat  in  one  of  Cor- 
reggio's  ceilings. 

The  year  1839  was  signalized  by  two  events,  — one 
unimportant,  but  remarkable  as  showing  the  spirit  of 
his  enemies,  the  publication  of  "The  Conchologist's 
First  Book"  ;  the  other  as  witnessing  the  issue  of 
perhaps  the  most  original  volume  of  short  stories  ever 
published —  the  "  Tales  of  the  Grotesque  and  Ara 

As  we  write,  the  first  and  second  editions  of  the 
manual  on  conchology  (1839,  1840:  Philadelphia: 
Haswell,  Barrington,  &  Haswell)  are  before  us.  The 
facsimile  of  the  title-page  of  the  edition  of  1839  reveals 
all  the  minutiae  of  the  descriptive  title  once  in  vogue. 
This  is  followed  by  a  preface  signed  E.  A.  P.,  ex 
plaining  the  terms  Malacology  and  Conchology,  with 
acknowledgments  to  Mr.  Isaac  Lea  of  Philadelphia 
and  Mr.  Thomas  Wyatt,  "and  his  late  excellent 
'  Manual  of  Conchology.* '  Three  pages  of  intro 
duction,  with  quotations  from  De  Blainville,  Parkinson, 
and  Bergman  —  pages  very  agreeably  written  —  intro- 




A     S  Y  S  T  E  M 



3rvaitflcTi  evprcsslj  for  tfte  use  of  Schools, 





BY   EDGAR  A.   POE. 

CRtSU.S-TIJ.-ii    A    COfillECT    TTPE    OF    EACH    OEVUS. 


PCBI.18HED    FOE    THE    ACTHOB,    BY 


M  TH« 



duce  twelve  pages  of  engraved  plates  of  shells,  their 
parts,  hinges,  etc.  Chapters  on  <e  Explanation  of  the 
Parts  of  Shells,"  and  on  "Classification,"  then  fill  up 
fourteen  or  fifteen  pages  more;  when  at  p.  25  the 
body  of  the  text  begins,  and  extends  to  p.  1 46  inclusive. 
A  "  Glossary  "  and  "Index  "  complete  the  volume, 
which  contains  ten  pages  fewer  than  the  slightly  en 
larged  edition  of  1840.  The  outside  cover  has  a 
stamped  illustration  of  shells,  weeds,  and  grasses,  and 
the  book  is  bound  in  paper  boards,  and  copyrighted 
in  Poe's  name. 

Poe's  course  in  the  composition  of  this  work  up  to 
page  20  was  undoubtedly  irregular  and  reprehensible 
in  not  calling  attention  to  the  fact  that  the  first  twenty 
pages  of  the  work,  including  preface,  introduction,  and 
explanation  of  the  shells,  were  a  close  paraphrase  of 
Captain  Thomas  Brown's  "  Conchologist's  Text- 
Book,"  published  in  Glasgow  in  1837,  —  whence  also 
Poe's  plates  are  drawn.  The  remainder  of  the  book 
is  a  bit  of  "job  work"  arranged  between  Professor 
Wyatt,  Professor  McMurtrie,  and  Poe,  —  Poe's  "name 
being  put  to  the  work,  as  best  known  and  most  likely 
to  aid  its  circulation."  "I  wrote  the  Preface  and 
Introduction,  and  translated  from  Cuvier  the  accounts 
of  the  animals,  etc.  All  schoolbooks  are  necessarily 
made  in  a  similar  way.  The  very  title-page  acknowl 
edges  that  the  animals  are  given  '  according  to 
Cuvier."'  (Poe,  February,  1847.) 

Wyatt,  it  seems,  had  published  through  the  Har 
pers  an  expensive  work  that  would  not  sell  ;  hence, 
turning  to  Poe  as  a  brilliant  and  necessitous  litterateur 
of  the  day,  willing  and  anxious  for  a  "pot-boiler,"  he 
engaged  the  poet  to  popularize  the  work  and  issue  an 
edition  under  his  own  (Poe's)  name.  Wyatt  sold  the 


book  himself  and  is,  jointly  with  Poe,  responsible  for 
it  and  its  exhibition  of  moral  obliquity. 

The  translation  and  digest  of  Lemmonnier's  "  Na 
tural  History,"  attributed  to  Poe,  cannot  now  be 
traced  to  him,  though  he  speaks  of  his  intimate  know 
ledge  of  it  in  Burton's  "  Gentleman's  Magazine"  for 
July,  1839. 

In  July,  1839,  he  became  associate-editor  with  the 
comedian  Burton  of  f<  The  Gentleman's  Magazine  and 
American  Monthly  Review,"  the  enterprise  of  a  his 
trionic  Englishman  who  claimed  to  be  a  graduate  of 
Cambridge  University.  Some  of  his  old  poems,  book- 
notices,  reviews  of  various  kinds,  "  The  Man  That 
Was  Used  Up,"  «  The  Fall  of  the  House  of  Usher," 
and  "The  Conversation  of  Eiros  and  Charmion " 
(the  last  three  appearing  for  the  first  time)  summed 
up  his  contributions  to  "Burton's"  from  July  to 
December,  the  last  two  alone  being  sufficient  to  make 
the  reputation  of  an  unknown  writer. 

At  this  point,  in  a  two-volume  publication  copy 
righted  in  1839,  published  by  Lea  &  Blanchard,  of 
Philadelphia,  and  dedicated  to  Colonel  William  Dray- 
ton,  the  student  reaches  the  first  golden  milestone  in  the 
poet's  career.  At  thirty  years  of  age,  before  George 
Eliot  or  Emerson  or,  one  might  say,  Walter  Scott  had 
begun  to  write,  Poe  had  produced  most  of  the  prose 
and  much  of  the  verse  upon  which  his  enduring  fame 
will  rest. 

All  the  Poe  types  reveal  themselves  in  these  volumes 
and  stand  before  us  in  statuesque  perfection  :  the 
lonely  forlorn  woman  stricken  with  early  disease  and 
death  ;  the  tale  of  terror  and  conscience  ;  the  old- 
world  romance  charged  with  poetic  German  mediae- 
valism  ;  the  story  whose  germ  is  found  in  an  exquisite 


poem  imbedded  in  the  text,  like  the  Mignon  poems  of 
the  Wilhelm  Meister ;  the  wonderful  fictions  of 
pseudo-science  in  which  imagination  scarce  outdoes 
reality  ;  the  eloquent  Platonic  dialogue  discussing  the 
high  themes  of  immortality,  the  emotions  and  sensations 
of  death  and  the  death-chamber,  or  the  destruction  of 
the  globe  ;  the  humorous  grotesque  in  which  whims 
and  vices  are  scored  with  a  fun  and  fancy  that  recall 
the  quaint  mythologic  life  and  quainter  landscapes  on 
the  walls  of  a  Pompeian  villa ;  life-in-death  with  its 
dramatic  self-realization  and  infinitely  subtle  self- 
analysis  ;  and  the  wondrous  fables  of  Siience  and 
Shadow  that  recall  the  marvellous  allegories  of  Novalis 
or  of  Schleiermacher.  The  ratiocinative  tale  alone  is 
absent  from  these  500  pages, —  agenresoon  to  develop 
with  swift  and  magic  force  in  "  The  Murders  in  the 
Rue  Morgue,"  "  The  Mystery  of  Marie  Roget,"  and 
"  The  Gold-Bug."  What  Poe  did  in  the  remaining 
decade  of  his  life  was  to  refine,  polish,  amplify  this 
already  ample  achievement,  and  to  add  those  inimitable 
"  jingle"  poems  which  Emerson,  having  no  sense  of 
rhythm  himself,  strove  vainly  to  sneer  out  of  existence 
with  an  epithet. 

To  have  accomplished  all  this  in  three  decades, 
handicapped  as  Poe  was  by  disease,  illness,  poverty, 
want,  and  persecution,  was  to  achieve  a  high  and 
noble  distinction  that  places  him  even  above  the  young 
immortals,  Keats  and  Andre  Chenier,  who  possessed 
solely  the  gift  of  song. 

The  1840  edition  of  the  "Tales"  was  entered  in 
the  clerk's  office  for  the  eastern  district  of  Pennsylvania 
in  1839.  The  following  is  the  title-page  copied  from 
the  original : 

"  Tales    of    the    Grotesque    and    Arabesque.  I  By 

150  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

Edgar  A.  Foe.  |  (Seltsamen  tochter  Jovis  seinem 
schosskinde  Der  Phantasie.  —  GOETHE.)  |  In  two 
volumes.  |  Philadelphia  :  Lea  and  Blanchard.  1 840. 

"Dedication. — These  Volumes  are  Inscribed  to 
Colonel  William  Drayton,  of  Philadelphia,  with  every 
Sentiment  of  Respect,  Gratitude,  and  Esteem,  By  his 
obliged  Friend  and  Servant,  THE  AUTHOR. 

"  Preface.  — The  epithets  '  Grotesque  '  and  'Ara 
besque  '  will  be  found  to  indicate  with  sufficient  pre 
cision  the  prevalent  tenor  of  the  tales  here  published. 
But  from  the  fact  that,  during  a  period  of  some  two  or 
three  years,  I  have  written  five-and-twenty  short  stories 
whose  general  character  may  be  so  briefly  denned,  it 
cannot  be  fairly  inferred  —  at  all  events  it  is  not  truly 
inferred  —  that  I  have,  for  this  species  of  writing,  any 
inordinate,  or  indeed  any  peculiar  taste  or  preposses 
sion.  I  may  have  written  with  an  eye  to  republica- 
tion  in  volume  form,  and  may,  therefore,  have  desired 
to  preserve,  as  far  as  a  certain  point,  a  certain  unity  of 
design.  This  is,  indeed,  the  fact ;  and  it  may  even 
happen  that,  in  this  manner,  I  shall  never  compose 
anything  again.  I  speak  of  these  things  here,  because 
I  am  led  to  think  it  is  this  prevalence  of  the  ( Ara 
besque  '  in  my  serious  tales,  which  has  induced  one 
or  two  critics  to  tax  me,  in  all  friendliness,  with  what 
they  have  pleased  to  term  '  Germanism  '  and  gloom. 
The  charge  is  in  bad  taste,  and  the  grounds  of  the  ac 
cusation  have  not  been  sufficiently  considered.  Let  us 
admit,  for  the  moment,  that  the  '  phantasy-pieces ' 
now  given  are  Germanic,  or  what  "not.  Then  Ger 
manism  is  '  the  vein  '  for  the  time  being.  To 
morrow  I  may  be  anything  but  German,  as  yesterday  I 
was  everything  else.  These  many  pieces  are  yet  one 
book.  My  friends  would  be  quite  as  wise  in  taxing 


an  astronomer  with  too  much  astronomy,  or  an  ethical 
author  with  treating  too  largely  of  morals.  But  the 
truth  is  that,  with  a  single  exception,  there  is  no  one 
of  these  stories  in  which  the  scholar  should  recognize 
the  distinctive  features  of  that  species  of  pseudo-horror 
which  we  are  taught  to  call  Germanic,  for  no  better 
reason  than  that  some  of  the  secondary  names  of  Ger 
man  literature  have  become  identified  with  its  folly. 
If  in  many  of  my  productions  terror  has  been  the 
thesis,  I  maintain  that  terror  is  not  of  Germany,  but 
of  the  soul  —  that  I  have  deduced  this  terror  only 
from  its  legitimate  sources,  and  urged  it  only  to  its 
legitimate  results. 

"  There  are  one  or  two  of  the  articles  here,  (con 
ceived  and  executed  in  the  purest  spirit  of  extrava 
ganza,)  to  which  I  expect  no  serious  attention,  and  of 
which  I  shall  speak  no  farther.  But  for  the  rest  I  can 
not  conscientiously  claim  indulgence  on  the  score  of 
hasty  effort.  I  think  it  best  becomes  me  to  say,  there 
fore,  that  if  I  have  sinned,  I  have  deliberately  sinned. 
These  brief  compositions  are,  in  chief  part,  the  results 
of  matured  purpose  and  very  careful  elaboration. 

"  Contents  of  Vol.  I.  —  Morella  ;  Lionizing;  Wil 
liam  Wilson  ;  The  Man  that  was  Used  Up  ;  The  Fall 
of  the  House  of  Usher  ;  The  Due  de  1'Omelette  ;  MS. 
Found  in  a  Bottle ;  Bon-Bon ;  Shadow  ;  The  Devil  in 
the  Belfry  ;  Ligeia  ;  King  Pest ;  The  Signora  Zenobia  ; 
The  Scythe  of  Time. 

"Contents  of  Vol.  II.  —  Epimanes  ;  Siope;  Hans 
Phaall  [sic]  ;  A  Tale  of  Jerusalem  ;  Von  Jung  ;  Loss 
of  Breath  ;  Metzenger stein  ;  Berenice  ;  Why  the  Little 
Frenchman  wears  his  Hand  in  a  Sling  ;  The  Visionary  ; 
The  Conversation  of  Eiros  and  Charmion. 

"Appendix    [containing    a    criticism    of    R.    A. 

152  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

Locke's  famous  '  Moon  Hoax,'  in  addition  to  Foe's 
short  note  to  *  Hans  Phaall']." 

Of  these  prose  romances  Mr.  Andrew  Lang,  in  his 
"  Letters  to  Dead  Authors,"  writes  : 

'*  An  English  critic  .  .  .  has  described  them  as 
'  Hawthorne  and  delirium  tremens.'  I  am  not  aware 
that  extreme  orderliness,  masterly  elaboration,  and 
unchecked  progress  towards  a  predetermined  effect 
are  characteristics  of  the  visions  of  delirium.  If  they 
be,  then  there  is  a  deal  of  truth  in  the  criticism,  and  a 
good  deal  of  delirium  tremens  in  your  style.  But 
your  ingenuity,  your  completeness,  your  occasional 
luxuriance  of  fancy  and  wealth  of  jewel-like  words, 
are  not,  perhaps,  gifts  which  Mr.  Hawthorne  had  at 
his  command.  He  was  a  great  writer  —  the  greatest 
writer  in  prose  fiction  whom  America  has  produced. 
But  you  and  he  have  not  much  in  common,  except  a 
certain  mortuary  turn  of  mind  and  a  taste  for  gloomy 
allegories  about  the  workings  of  conscience. 

"  For  your  stories  has  been  reserved  a  boundless 
popularity,  and  that  highest  success  —  the  success  of  a 
perfectly  sympathetic  translation.  By  this  time  of 
course  you  have  made  the  acquaintance  of  your  trans 
lator,  M.Charles  Baudelaire." 





IN  i  840  the  great  Republic  rejoiced  in  a  population 
of  more  than  17,000,000,  among  whom  were  a  vast 
number  of  travelled  and  cultured  persons  profoundly 
interested  in  reading  and  in  things  of  the  spirit.  A 
wave  of  idealism  had  passed  over  New  England, 
woven  of  the  study  of  German  mysticism,  the  worship 
of  Carlyle  and  Goethe,  and  a  healthy  reaction  against 
the  overwhelming  materialism  of  the  age. 

As  far  back  as  1824,  1825,  and  1827,  indeed 
when  Carlyle  unsealed  the  deep  fountains  of  German 
ideology,  romance,  and  poetry  with  his  translations 
of  Wilhelm  Meister,  his  "  German  Romance,"  and 
his  biography  of  Schiller,  —  fortified  by  the  works  of 
Sir  Walter  Scott  as  a  translator,  and  the  immense  in 
fluence  of  Coleridge, —  the  subtle  spirit  of  German 
philosophy,  metaphysics,  and  medievalism  had  begun 
to  spread  like  an  invisible  oil, —  tenuous,  expansive, 
all-pervading,  —  over  the  English  and  American 
mind,  aided  by  the  numerous  translations  of  Tieck, 
La  Motte  Fouque,  Chamisso,  the  Schlegels,  Schiller, 
Schelling,  Heine,  and  Uhland  that  began  to  pour 

154  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

from  the  press,  opening  up  a  wonder-world  of  pic 
turesque  "  Germanism"  that  had  before  been  inac 

Where  or  how,  precisely,  Poe  became  first  inoculated 
with  this  spirit  of  occult  Germany  :  whether  it  was 
bred  in  him  and  born  with  him,  naturally,  as  part  of 
his  constitutional  heritage  from  a  mixed  and  high- 
strung  ancestry  ;  or  whether  he  drank  it  in  with  his 
Morellas  and  Eleanoras  and  Ligeias  as  he  read  and 
studied  with  them  in  the  enchanted  castles  of  his 
fancy,  is  not  clear  :  Poe  nowhere  reduces  his  beliefs  — 
"Eureka"  alone  excepted  —  to  a  system,  and  he 
revels  in  occultism,  in  mesmerism,  in  the  miraculous 
revelations  of  science  merely  for  the  intellectual  delight 
of  the  moment.  That  somehow  —  somewhere  —  he 
became  saturated  with  the  doctrines  of  Schelling  and 
founded  some  of  his  finest  tales  and  "  dialogues  of  the 
dead  "  ("  Monos  and  Una  "  and  "  Eiros  and  Char- 
mion,"  for  example)  on  their  poetic  mysticism,  there 
can  be  no  doubt. 

Poe  indeed  was  constitutionally  disposed  to  "the 
flight  into  the  land  of  the  supernatural  and  the  miracu 
lous  ;  "  "a  wilder'd  being  from  his  birth,"  he  never 
ceased  to  see  visions  and  dream  dreams ;  along  with 
all  the  great  poets  that  have  ever  lived  —  Homer,  Vir 
gil,  Dante,  Caedmon,  Chaucer,  Langland,  Tennyson 
—  his  dreams  were  his  most  vivid  realities,  and  he 
was  of  the  dreaming  race  —  the  Germanic  —  the 
race  of  Novalis  and  Schelling,  his  masters  across  the 
German  sea. 

With  the  publication  of  "  The  Tales  of  the  Gro 
tesque  and  Arabesque"  in  1840,  Poe  found  himself 
in  an  environment  of  unexampled  richness,  not  only 
for  what  it  had  already  accomplished,  but  also  for 


what  it  promised.  Lowell,  Hawthorne,  Motley,  Em 
erson,  Holmes,  Whittier,  Longfellow,  Bryant,  Irving, 
were  his  immediate  contemporaries  and  brethren  in 
art ;  all  about  him  the  glades  —  the  magazines  —  were 
vocal  with  the  male  and  female  songsters  to  whom  he 
was  now  to  turn  a  biting  or  a  flattering  pen  ;  literary 
animalcules  thirsting  for  recognition  swarmed  in  every 
hedge-row  and  flooded  the  press  with  their  pipings. 

Among  these  Poe  soon  towered  as  a  giant  ;  even  the 
lordly  Irving,  who  had  so  long  figured  as  the  supreme 
pontiff  of  American  letters,  acknowledged  his  genius  — 
Irving,  who  was  to  America,  in  the  forties,  what 
Goethe  had  been  to  Germany  and  Voltaire  had  been 
to  France.  Possessed  of  a  fearless  and  independent 
mind,  of  extensive  knowledge,  and  of  a  definite,  indi 
vidual,  and  sententious  system  of  criticism,  Poe  lived 
in  an  exceedingly  trying  age  —  certainly  that  part  of 
it  which  extended  from  1840  to  1849  —  when  cir 
cumstances  forced  him  to  turn  his  attention  —  criti 
cally —  to  his  contemporaries.  He  believed  himself 
to  be  a  great  critic  ;  and  he  spoke  from  his  judicial 
throne  with  a  "  cock-sure  "  Macaulayan  infallibility 
that  was  exceedingly  irritating  to  the  mob  ;  as  sur 
prising,  indeed,  as  his  belief  in  his  own  infallible  powers 
of  solving  puzzles  and  enigmas,  of  the  cryptographic 
kind  which  he  now  began  contributing  to  Alexander's 
"  Weekly  Messenger  ;"  asserting  that  "  human  in 
genuity  cannot  construct  any  cryptograph  human  inge 
nuity  cannot  decipher." 

Our  preceding  chapter  contained  a  brief  notice  of 
Burton  and  his  "Gentleman's  Magazine,"  with  an 
account  of  its  ultimate  purchase  by  George  R.  Gra 
ham  and  its  absorption,  with  "  The  Casket,"  into 
"Graham's  Magazine." 

156  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

The  partnership  of  Poe  and  Burton  —  never  ami 
cable  —  appears  in  their  joint  names  in  the  title-page 
of  the  "  Gentleman's  Magazine,"  1  for  1840.  He 
had  been  appointed  editor  of  this  in  July,  1839,  anc^  to 
the  September  number  he  contributed  one  of  the 
most  thrilling  and  artistic  of  his  tales,  "The  Fall  of 
the  House  of  Usher,"  incidentally,  in  the  portrait 
of  Roderick  Usher,  painting  the  following  portrait  of 
himself : 

"  The  character  of  his  face  had  been  at  all  times 
remarkable.  A  cadaverousness  of  complexion  ;  an 
eye  large,  liquid,  and  luminous  beyond  comparison  ; 
lips  somewhat  thin  and  very  pallid,  but  of  a  surpass 
ingly  beautiful  curve  ;  a  nose  of  a  delicate  Hebrew 
model,  but  with  a  breadth  of  nostril  unusual  in  similar 
formations ;  a  finely  moulded  chin,  speaking,  in  its 
want  of  prominence,  of  a  want  of  moral  energy  ;  hair 
of  a  more  than  web-like  softness  and  tenuity  :  these 
features,  with  an  inordinate  expansion  of  the  temple 
[see  the  Cole  portrait  of  Poe]  made  up  altogether  a 
countenance  not  easily  to  be  forgotten." 

The  Israfel  motif  appears  in  the  couplet  from  Beran- 
ger,  which  introduces  this  spectral  sonata  in  words  : 

"  Son  coeur  est  un  luth  suspendu  ; 
Sitot  qu'on  le  touche  il  resonne." 

During  the  remainder  of  1839  Poe  reprinted  in 
the  "  Gentleman's  "  "  William  Wilson"  and  "  Mo- 
rella,"  some  of  his  short  poems,  short  reviews  of  books, 
and  in  the  December  number,  an  original  contribution, 
"The  Conversation  of  Eiros  and  Charmion,"  a  dia- 

1  The  author  is  much  indebted  to  Mr.  John  Thomson,  Librarian 
of  the  Free  Library,  Philadelphia,  for  the  loan  of  files  of  this 
magazine  and  of  Graham's  :  1839-1849. 


loguc  intensely  dramatic  in  its  word-painting,  carrying 
to  a  rare  point  of  perfection  a  literary  form  in  which 
he  indulged  but  three  times,  though  each  time  master 
fully  :  "  The  Colloquy  of  Monos  and  Una,"  "The 
Conversation  of  Eiros  and  Charmion,"  and  "The 
Power  of  Words.''  In  "The  Conversation  of  Eiros 
and  Charmion  "  one  sees  the  calm  Platonic  dialogue, 
surcharged  with  a  frightful  meaning  and  working  up 
to  its  acme  by  means  of  terrific  supernatural  machin 
ery  undreamt  of  in  the  days  and  in  the  dreams  of 
Plato  :  certainly  no  more  plausible  theory  —  vision  — 
one  may  truly  call  it  —  of  the  ultimate  destruction  of  the 
globe  was  ever  imagined  or  conjured  up  in  words. 

All  his  life  Poe  pursued  the  will  o'  the  wisp  idea  of 
establishing  a  literary  journal  that  should  be  fearless, 
independent,  critical,  and  classical  in  style  and  spirit ; 
the  last  journey  of  his  restless  and  fevered  life  being 
undertaken  with  this  object.  In  Philadelphia  the 
demon  pursued  him  while  he  was  in  the  employ  of 
Burton  and  Graham  ;  it  pursued  him  in  New  York  ; 
and  his  correspondence  is  full  of  it.  The  Philadelphia 
" Saturday  Chronicle"  for  June  13,  1840,  contained 
the  announcement  that  "  The  Penn  Monthly,"  edited 
by  Edgar  A.  Poe,  would  appear  January  I,  1841,  and 
prospectuses  were  widely  distributed.  It  is  supposed 
that  a  quarrel  arose  between  Poe  and  Burton  on  account 
of  the  new  magazine ;  Poe  was  accused  of  stealing 
Burton's  subscription  list  and  of  neglecting  his  office 
duties  on  "The  Gentleman's,"  and  a  rupture  ensued. 
That  he  neglected  these  duties  is  emphatically  denied 
by  Mr.  C.  W.  Alexander,  publisher  of  the  magazine, 
who  in  October,  1850  (Gill,  p.  97),  wrote: 

"  The  absence  of  the  principal  editor  [Burton]  on 
professional  duties  left  the  matters  frequently  in  the 

158  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

hands  of  Mr.  Poe,  whose  unfortunate  failing  may  have 
occasioned  some  disappointment  in  the  preparation  of  a 
particular  article  expected  from  him,  but  never  inter 
fering  with  the  regular  publication  of  the  '  Gentle 
man's  Magazine,'  as  its  monthly  issue  was  never 
interrupted  upon  any  occasion,  either  from  Mr.  Foe's 
deficiency,  or  from  any  other  cause,  during  my  publi 
cation  of  it,  embracing  the  whole  time  of  Mr.  Poe's 
connection  with  it." 

This  candid  and  clear  statement  is  ingeniously  twisted 
by  one  of  Poe's  biographers  into  a  confirmation  of 
the  poet's  intemperance  and  into  a  refutation  of  the 
following  admirable  letter  to  his  old  friend  Dr.  J.  E. 
Snodgrass,  in  which  he  describes  his  habits  at  Rich 
mond  and  Philadelphia : 

PHILADELPHIA,  April  i,  1841. 

MY  DEAR  SNODGRASS, —  I  fear  you  have  been  think 
ing  it  was  not  my  design  to  answer  your  kind  letter  at 
all.  It  is  now  April  Fool's  Day,  and  yours  is  dated 
March  8th  ;  but  believe  me,  although,  for  good  rea 
son,  I  may  occasionally  postpone  my  reply  to  your 
favors,  I  am  never  in  danger  of  forgetting  them. 

In  regard  to  Burton.  I  feel  indebted  to  you  for  the 
kind  interest  you  express;  but  scarcely  know  how  to 
reply.  My  situation  is  embarrassing.  It  is  impos 
sible,  as  you  say,  to  notice  a  buffoon  and  a  felon,  as 
one  gentleman  would  notice  another.  The  law,  then, 
is  my  only  resource.  Now,  if  the  truth  of  a  scandal 
could  be  admitted  in  justification  —  I  mean  of  what 
the  law  terms  a  scandal  —  I  would  have  matters  all 
my  own  way.  I  would  institute  a  suit,  forthwith,  for 
his  personal  defamation  of  myself.  He  would  be  un 
able  to  prove  the  truth  of  his  allegations.  I  could 


prove  their  falsity  and  their  malicious  intent  by  wit 
nesses  who,  seeing  me  at  all  hours  of  every  day, 
would  have  the  best  right  to  speak  —  I  mean  Burton's 
own  clerk,  Morrell,  and  the  compositors  of  the  print 
ing  office.  In  fact,  I  could  prove  the  scandal  almost 
by  acclamation.  I  should  obtain  damages.  But,  on 
the  other  hand,  I  have  never  been  scrupulous  in  re 
gard  to  what  I  have  said  of  him.  I  have  always  told 
him  to  his  face,  and  everybody  else,  that  I  looked  upon 
him  as  a  blackguard  and  a  villain.  This  is  notorious. 
He  would  meet  me  with  a  cross-action.  The  truth  of 
the  allegation  —  which  I  could  [as]  easily  prove  as  he 
would  find  it  difficult  to  prove  the  truth  of  his  own 
respecting  me  —  would  not  avail  me.  The  law  will 
not  admit,  as  justification  of  my  calling  Billy  Burton  a 
scoundrel,  that  Billy  Burton  is  really  such.  What  then 
can  I  do  ?  If  I  sue,  he  sues  :  you  see  how  it  is. 

At  the  same  time  —  as  I  may,  after  further  reflec 
tion,  be  induced  to  sue,  I  would  take  it  as  an  act 
of  kindness  —  not  to  say  justice  —  on  your  part,  if  you 
would  see  the  gentleman  of  whom  you  spoke,  and  as 
certain  with  accuracy  all  that  may  legally  avail  me  ; 
that  is  to  say,  what  and  when  were  the  words  used, 
and  whether  your  friend  would  be  willing  for  your 
sake,  for  my  sake,  and  for  the  sake  of  truth,  to  give 
evidence  if  called  upon.  Will  you  do  this  for  me  ? 

So  far  for  the  matter  inasmuch  as  it  concerns 
Burton.  I  have  now  to  thank  you  for  your  defence  of 
myself,  as  stated.  You  are  a  physician,  and  I  pre 
sume  no  physician  can  have  difficulty  in  detecting  the 
drunkard  at  a  glance.  You  are,  moreover,  a  literary 
man,  well  read  in  morals. 

You  will  never  be  brought  to  believe  that  I  could 
write  what  I  daily  write,  as  I  write  it,  were  I  as  this 

l6o  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

villain  woukl  induce  those  who  know  me  not,  to  be 
lieve.  In  fine,  I  pledge  you,  before  God,  the  solemn 
word  of  a  gentleman,  that  I  am  temperate  even  to 
rigor.  From  the  hour  in  which  I  first  saw  this  basest 
of  calumniators  to  the  hour  in  which  I  retired  from  his 
office  in  uncontrollable  disgust  at  his  chicanery,  arro 
gance,  ignorance  and  brutality,  nothing  stronger  than 
water  ever  passed  my  lips. 

It  is,  however,  due  to  candor  that  I  inform  you 
upon  what  foundation  he  has  erected  his  slanders.  At 
no  period  of  my  life  was  I  ever  what  men  call  intem 
perate.  I  never  was  in  the  habit  of  intoxication.  I 
never  drank  drams,  &c.  But,  for  a  period,  while  I  re 
sided  in  Richmond,  and  edited  the  "Messenger,"  I  cer 
tainly  did  give  way,  at  long  intervals,  to  the  temptation 
held  out  on  all  sides  by  the  spirit  of  Southern  convivi 
ality.  My  sensitive  temperament  could  not  stand  an 
excitement  which  was  an  every-day  matter  to  my 
companions.  In  short,  it  sometimes  happened  that  I 
was  completely  intoxicated.  For  some  days  after  each 
excess  I  was  invariably  confined  to  bed.  But  it  is 
now  quite  four  years  since  I  have  abandoned  every 
kind  of  alcoholic  drink  —  four  years,  with  the  excep 
tion  of  a  single  deviation,  which  occurred  shortly  after 
my  leaving  Burton,  and  when  I  was  induced  to  resort 
to  the  occasional  use  of  cider ,  with  the  hope  of  reliev 
ing  a  nervous  attack. 

You  will  thus  see,  frankly  stated,  the  whole  amount 
of  my  sin.  You  will  also  see  the  blackness  of  that 
heart  which  could  revive  slander  of  this  nature. 
Neither  can  you  fail  to  perceive  how  desperate  the 
malignity  of  the  slanderer  must  be  —  how  resolute  he 
must  be  to  slander,  and  how  slight  the  grounds  upon 
which  he  would  build  up  a  defamation  —  since  he  can 


find  nothing  better  with  which  to  charge  me  than  an 
accusation  which  can  be  disproved  by  each  and  every 
man  with  whom  I  am  in  the  habit  of  daily  intercourse. 

I  have  now  only  to  repeat  to  you,  in  general,  my 
solemn  assurance  that  my  habits  are  as  far  removed 
from  intemperance  as  the  day  from  the  night.  My 
sole  drink  is  water. 

Will  you  do  me  the  kindness  to  repeat  this  assurance 
to  such  of  your  own  friends  as  happen  to  speak  of  me 
in  your  hearing? 

I  feel  that  nothing  more  is  requisite,  and  you  will 
agree  with  me  upon  reflection. 

Hoping  soon  to  hear  from  you,  I  am, 
Yours  most  cordially, 

DR.  J.  E.  SNODGRASS.  EDGAR  A.  PoE.1 

It  is  thus  seen  that  it  was  the  occasional  convivial 
glass,  not  the  habitual  slip,  that  was  the  bane  of  the 
poet's  existence — a  view  confirmed  by  his  friend 
Tucker's  testimony  when  they  were  boys  at  the 
University  of  Virginia,  and  reasserted  all  through  his 
later  life  by  those  nearest  to  him.  Mrs.  Clemm  as 
serted  positively,  "  For  years  I  know  he  did  not  taste 
even  a  glass  of  wine,"  the  period  embraced  being  that 
between  1837  and  1841  ;  testimony  confirmed  by  L. 
A.  Wilmer  ("Our  Press-Gang,"  p.  284),  by  Wil 
liam  Gowans,  "the  eccentric  book-miser  of  Nassau 
Street,  who  bought  so  many  volumes,  and  sold  so  few, 
that  both  cellar  and  attic  of  his  place  of  business  were 
found,  at  his  death,  packed  with  forgotten  pur 
chases  ; "  2  and  by  many  others. 

Mr.  Appleton  Morgan,  president  of  the  New  York 

1  Poe  to  Snodgrass,  Baltimore  American,  April,  1881. 

2  Appleton  Morgan,  Munseyjs  Magazine,  July,  1897,  p.  529. 
VOL.  I.  —  II 

162  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

Shakspeare  Society,  which  interested  itself  successfully 
in  getting  the  New  York  legislature  to  pass  a  bill  es 
tablishing  Poe  Park  and  removing  to  it  the  Fordham 
cottage  where  Virginia  died,  writes  :  l 

"  From  those  who  claim  to  have  been  Poe's  neigh 
bors  at  Fordham  (1846—49),  or  who  said  that  their 
parents  had  been,  there  came  curiously  contradictory 
statements  as  to  the  poet's  character  and  habits.  I 
heard  it  asserted  that  he  was  a  shiftless,  careless,  un 
happy  man,  with  a  kind  word  for  nobody  —  a  drunk 
ard  who  was  pointed  out  to  strangers  as  he  reeled 
home  at  night.  On  the  other  hand,  people  who  knew 
him  personally,  or  whose  fathers  and  mothers  have  so 
testified  to  them,  have  assured  me  that  Poe  never 
drank  liquor  simply  because  his  stomach  was  so  deli 
cate  that  a  single  glass  of  wine  was  poison  to  him,  and 
that  he  could  not,  even  by  a  physical  effort,  swallow, 
much  less  retain,  a  drop  of  ardent  spirits. 

"I  have  been  assured  by  this  latter  group  of  wit 
nesses,  that  Edgar  Poe  was  a  sweet  and  lovable  gen 
tleman,  with  a  smile  and  a  courteous  word  or  gesture 
for  every  one  who  met  him  ;  that  he  dressed  with 
scrupulous  care,  and  that,  however  threadbare  his  gar 
ments,  he  was  always  precise  and  dainty,  even  dapper, 
in  his  neatness  and  in  his  gait  ;  that,  far  from  pointing 
him  out  with  scorn  and  reproach,  his  neighbors  loved 
to  see  him,  spoke  highly  of  him,  sympathized  with  his 
misfortunes,  and,  had  they  dared,  would  have  openly 
offered  him  the  assistance  which  they  did,  as  often  as 
possible,  clandestinely  render  him." 

Dr.  J.  J.  Moran,  who  attended  him  in  his  dying 
hours,  asserted  solemnly  that  there  was  no  smell  of 
liquor  on  his  breath,  and  that  he  recoiled  with  horror 

1  Appleton  Morgan,  Munsey^s  Magazine^  July,  1897,  p.  529* 


from  the  offer  to  take  what  the  physician  thought  was 
a  necessary  stimulant  ;  and  the  attention  of  the  reader 
is  called  to  the  statement  of  the  official  who  adminis 
tered  the  oath  of  temperance  to  Poe  when  he  joined 
the  society  just  before  his  death. 

Another  most  interesting  letter  from  Poe  to  Burton, 
dated  June  I,  reveals  clearly  Poe's  lack  of  vanity  as  to 
his  writings,  his  precision  and  punctiliousness  in  money 
matters,  the  large  amount  of  work  he  contributed  to 
the  "  Gentleman's  Magazine"  during  his  twelve 
months'  connection  with  it,  and  his  exculpation  of  him 
self  from  the  charge  of  underhanded  dealing  in  "  The 
Penn  Monthly  "  affair.  Though  the  total  number  of 
pages  he  contributed  is  inaccurately  added  up,  the 
correct  number  of  pages  being  123  (not  "132")  still 
this  leaves  Poe  an  average  of  ten  pages  per  month, 
not  eleven,  as  he  sums  it  up,  for  his  usual  monthly 
contribution  to  the  magazine.  The  letter,  whatever 
be  its  temper,  is  an  epistolary  masterpiece,  clear,  elo 
quent,  and  convincing.  That  Burton  was  really  a 
good  fellow,  —  that  Poe  was  not  justified  in  denounc 
ing  him  to  Snodgrass  as  "a  buffoon  and  a  felon" — • 
is  plain  from  what  we  printed  in  a  previous  chapter 
where,  when  Graham  is  about  to  purchase  the  "  Gen 
tleman's  Magazine"  and  combine  it  with  "The  Cas 
ket,"  Burton  makes  a  special  condition  that  his  "  young 
editor  [Poe]  is  to  be  taken  care  of."  Poe  wrote  to 
Burton  as  follows  : 

SIR,  —  I  find  myself  at  leisure  this  Monday  morn- 
ning,  June  I,  to  notice  your  very  singular  letter  of 
Saturday.  ...  I  have  followed  the  example  of 
Victorine  and  slept  upon  the  matter,  and  you  shall 
now  hear  what  I  have  to  say.  In  the  first  place,  your 
attempts  to  bully  me  excite  in  my  mind  scarcely  any 

164  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

other  sentiment  than  mirth.  When  you  address  me 
again,  preserve,  if  you  can,  the  dignity  of  a  gentle 
man.  ...  I  shall  feel  myself  more  at  liberty  to  be 
explicit.  As  for  the  rest,  you  do  me  gross  injustice  ; 
and  you  know  it.  As  usual,  you  have  wrought  your 
self  into  a  passion  with  me  on  account  of  some  imagi 
nary  wrong  ;  for  no  real  injury,  or  attempt  at  injury, 
have  you  ever  received  at  my  hands.  As  I  live,  I  am 
utterly  unable  to  say  why  you  are  angry,  or  what  true 
grounds  of  complaint  you  have  against  me.  You  are  a 
man  of  impulses ;  have  made  yourself,  in  consequence, 
some  enemies  ;  have  been  in  many  respects  ill-treated 
by  those  whom  you  had  looked  upon  as  friends  —  and 
these  things  have  rendered  you  suspicious.  You  once 
wrote  in  your  magazine  a  sharp  critique  upon  a  book 
of  mine  —  a  very  silly  book  —  Pym.  Had  I  written 
a  similar  criticism  upon  a  book  of  yours,  you  feel  that 
you  would  have  been  my  enemy  for  life,  and  you 
therefore  imagine  in  my  bosom  a  latent  hostility  to 
wards  yourself.  This  has  been  a  mainspring  in  your 
whole  conduct  towards  me  since  our  first  acquaintance. 
It  has  acted  to  prevent  all  cordiality.  In  a  general 
view  of  human  nature  your  idea  is  just  —  but  you  will 
find  yourself  puzzled  in  judging  me  by  ordinary  mo 
tives.  Your  criticism  was  essentially  correct,  and 
therefore,  although  severe,  it  did  not  occasion  in  me 
one  solitary  emotion  either  of  anger  or  dislike.  But 
even  while  I  write  these  words,  I  am  sure  you  will 
not  believe  them.  Did  I  not  still  think  you,  in  spite 
of  the  exceeding  littleness  of  some  of  your  hurried 
actions,  a  man  of  many  honorable  impulses,  I  would 
not  now  take  the  trouble  to  send  you  this  letter.  I 
rannoc  permit  myself  to  suppose  that  you  would  say  to 
me  in  cool  blood  what  you  said  in  your  letter  of  yes- 


terday.  You  are,  of  course,  only  mistaken,  in  assert 
ing  that  I  owe  you  a  hundred  dollars,  and  you  will 
rectify  the  mistake  at  once  when  you  come  to  look  at 
your  accounts. 

Soon  after  I  joined  you,  you  made  me  an  offer  of 
money,  and  I  accepted  $20.  Upon  another  occasion, 
at  my  request,  you  sent  me  enclosed  in  a  letter  $30. 
Of  this  $30,  I  repaid  $20  within  the  next  fortnight 
(drawing  no  salary  for  that  period).  I  was  thus  still 
in  your  debt  $30,  when  not  long  ago  I  again  asked  a 
loan  of  $30,  which  you  promptly  handed  to  me  at 
your  own  home.  Within  the  last  three  weeks,  three 
dollars  each  week  have  been  retained  from  my  salary, 
an  indignity  which  I  have  felt  deeply  but  did  not  re 
sent.  You  state  the  sum  retained  as  $8,  but  this  I 
believe  is  through  a  mistake  of  Mr.  Morrell.  My 
postage  bill,  at  a  guess,  might  be  $9  or  $10  —  and  I 
therefore  am  indebted  to  you,  upon  the  whole,  in  the 
amount  of  about  $60.  More  than  this  sum  I  shall 
not  pay.  You  state  that  you  can  no  longer  afford  to 
pay  $50  per  month  for  2  or  3  pages  of  MS.  Your 
error  here  can  be  shown  by  reference  to  the  magazine. 
During  my  year  with  you  I  have  written  —  in  July, 
5  pp.;  in  August,  9  pp.;  in  Sept.,  1 6  pp.;  in  Oct., 
/j.  pp.;  in  Nov.,  5  pp.;  in  Dec.,  12  pp.;  in  Jan., 
9  pp.;  in  Feb.,  12  pp.;  in  March,  n  pp.;  in  April, 
1 7  pp.;  in  May,  14  pp.,  plus  5  copied  —  Miss  Mc- 
Michael's  MS.;  in  June,  9  pp.,  plus  3  copied  — 
Chandler's.  Total,  132  pp.  [y/r]. 

Dividing  this  sum  by  1 2,  we  have  an  average  of 
II  pp.  per  month  —  not  2  or  3.  And  this  estimate 
leaves  out  of  question  everything  in  the  way  of  extract 
or  compilation.  Nothing  is  counted  but  bona  fide 
composition.  Eleven  pages,  at  $3  per  page,  would  be 


$33,  at  the  usual  magazine  prices.  Deduct  this  from 
$50,  my  monthly  salary,  and  we  have  left  $17  per 
month,  or  $4.25  per  week,  for  the  services  of  proof 
reading ;  general  superintendence  at  the  printing  office  ; 
reading,  alteration  and  preparation  of  MSS.,  with  com 
pilation  of  various  articles,  such  as  plate  articles,  field 
sports,  &c.  Neither  has  anything  been  said  of  my 
name  upon  your  title-page,  a  small  item  —  you  will 
say  —  but  still  something,  as  you  know.  Snowden  pays 
his  editresses  $2  per  week  each  for  their  names  solely. 
Upon  the  whole,  I  am  not  willing  to  admit  that  you 
have  greatly  overpaid  me.  That  I  did  not  do  four 
times  as  much  as  I  did  for  the  magazine  was  your  own 
fault.  At  first  I  wrote  long  articles,  which  you 
deemed  inadmissible,  and  never  did  I  suggest  any  to 
which  you  had  not  some  immediate  and  decided  ob 
jection.  Of  course  I  grew  discouraged,  and  could  feel 
no  interest  in  the  journal. 

I  am  at  a  loss  to  know  why  you  call  me  selfish.  If 
'you  mean  that  I  borrowed  money  of  you  —  you  know 
that  you  offered  it,  and  you  know  that  I  am  poor.  In 
what  instance  has  any  one  ever  found  me  selfish  ? 
Was  there  selfishness  in  the  affront  I  offered  Benjamin 
(whom  I  respect,  and  who  spoke  well  of  me)  because 
I  deemed  it  a  duty  not  to  receive  from  any  one  com 
mendation  at  your  expense  ?  .  .  .  I  have  said  that  I 
could  not  tell  why  you  were  angry.  Place  yourself  in 
my  situation  and  see  whether  you  would  not  have 
acted  as  I  have  done.  You  first  "  enforced,"  as  you 
say,  a  deduction  of  salary  :  giving  me  to  under 
stand  thereby  that  you  thought  of  parting  company. 
You  next  spoke  disrespectfully  of  me  behind  my  back 
—  this  as  an  habitual  thing  —  to  those  whom  you  sup 
posed  your  friends,  and  who  punctually  retailed  me, 


as  a  matter  of  course,  every  ill-natured  word  which 
you  uttered.  Lastly,  you  advertised  your  magazine  for 
sale  without  saying  a  word  to  me  about  it.  I  felt  no 
anger  at  what  you  did  —  none  in  the  world. 

Had  I  not  firmly  believed  it  your  design  to  give  up 
your  journal,  with  a  view  of  attending  to  the  Theatre, 
I  should  never  have  dreamed  of  attempting  one  of  my 
own.  The  opportunity  of  doing  something  for  my 
self  seemed  a  good  one — (and  I  was  about  to  be 
thrown  out  of  business)  —  and  I  embraced  it.  Now 
I  ask  you,  as  a  man  of  honor  and  as  a  man  of  sense  — 
what  is  there  wrong  in  all  this  ?  What  have  I  done 
at  which  you  have  any  right  to  take  offence  ?  I  can 
give  you  no  definitive  answer  (respecting  the  continu 
ation  of  Rodman's  Journal)  until  I  hear  from  you 
again.  The  charge  of  $100  I  shall  not  admit  for  an 
instant.  If  you  persist  in  it  our  intercourse  is  at  an 
end,  and  we  can  each  adopt  our  own  measures. 

In  the  meantime,  I  am, 

Yr.  Obt.  St., 


In  a  previous  chapter  we  have  recounted  from 
Graham's  own  lips  the  story  of  the  origination  of 
"  Graham's  Magazine,"  which  was  destined  for  the 
next  ten  years  to  exercise  an  almost  preponderating  in 
fluence  on  American  letters.  No  one  can  look  over 
the  files  of  the  magazine  for  these  years  without  being 
struck  with  the  wealth  and  distinction  of  remarkable 
names  which  embellish  its  pages  and  with  the  imme 
diate  success  which  from  February,  1841,  began  to 
attend  Poe's  critical  and,  finally,  editorial  responsibility 
for  its  contents.  In  his  <(  Chapter  on  Autography," 
Poe  expressed  himself  thus  of  Mr.  Graham  : 

l68  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

"  Mr.  Graham  is  known  to  the  literary  world  as 
the  editor  and  proprietor  of  '  Graham' s  Magazine  ' 
the  most  popular  periodical  in  America,  and  also  of 
the  '  Saturday  Evening  Post '  of  Philadelphia.  For 
both  of  these  journals  he  has  written  much  and  well. 
His  MS.  generally  is  very  bad,  or  at  least  very  illeg 
ible.  At  times  it  is  sufficiently  distinct,  and  has 
force  and  picturesqueness,  speaking  plainly  of  the 
energy  which  particularly  distinguishes  him  as  a 

"Energy"  indeed  was  Graham's  characteristic, 
reinforced  by  exceptional  good  nature  and  a  kindliness 
of  feeling  for  his  "young  editor"  which  made  him 
come  out  after  Poe's  death  in  an  eloquent  defence  of 

Of  Burton  he  goodnaturedly  wrote  in  the  same 
"Autography  "  : 

"  Mr.  Burton  is  better  known  as  a  comedian  than 
as  a  literary  man,  but  he  has  written  many  short  prose 
articles  of  merit,  and  his  quondam  editorship  of  the 
'Gentleman's  Magazine'  would,  at  all  events,  entitle 
him  to  a  place  in  this  collection.  He  has,  moreover, 
published  one  or  two  books.  An  annual  issued  by 
Carey  and  Hart  in  1 840  consisted  entirely  of  prose 
contributions  from  himself,  with  poetical  ones  from 
Charles  West  Thompson,  Esq.  In  this  work  many 
of  the  tales  were  good. ' ' 

"The  Penn  Monthly"  scheme  went  up  in  the 
usual  smoke  to  which  illness,  indigence,  and  financial 
panic  —  chronic  in  those  times  —  so  often  reduced  the 
journalistic  dreams  of  the  poet.  Its  ambitious  pros 
pectus —  Prospectus  of  "The  Penn  Magazine,"  a 
monthly  literary  journal,  to  be  edited  and  published 
in  the  city  of  Philadelphia  by  Edgar  A.  Poe  —  was 


all  that  ever  appeared  of  it.  It  was  a  Poe  journal 
that  Poe  craved ;  a  journal  that  would  give  free  play 
to  his  own  individuality  such  as  he  had  not  been 
allowed  to  show  in  the  "  Messenger  ;  "  a  journal  that 
would  deal  out  critical  justice  in  a  calm  yet  stern  and 
fearless  manner,  guided  by  the  purest  rules  of  Art,  im 
personal  in  its  judgments,  avoiding  the  "involute  and 
anonymous  cant  of  the  Quarterlies'*  and  the  arrogance 
of  the  cliques  and  Mutual  Admiration  Societies  ;  ver 
satility,  originality,  pungency  would  enable  it  to 
please  ;  there  should  be  "  no  tincture  of  the  buffoon 
ery,  scurrility,  or  profanity,  which  are  the  blemish  of 
some  of  the  most  vigorous  of  the  European  prints." 

It  was,  however,  perhaps  just  as  well  that  Poe's 
time  should  not  have  been  taken  up  at  this  moment 
with  the  harassing  responsibilities  of  an  independent 
journal  ;  otherwise  he  might  never  have  made  the 
striking  record  or  produced  the  profound  impression 
on  contemporary  literature  which  his  contributions  to 
"Graham's'*  up  to  1842  began  to  show.  To  the 
last  number  of  the  "Gentleman's"  before  it  be 
came  "Graham's"  he  had  contributed  "The  Man 
of  the  Crowd,"  a  Hugoesque  sketch  filled  with  the 
power,  the  terrors,  the  shadows  of  unknown  and  un- 
conjecturable  crime ;  the  cipher  papers  in  Alexan 
der's  "Weekly  Messenger"  had  at  this  time  created 
a  great  sensation,  ninety-nine  of  the  cryptographs 
(he  says)  sent  in  by  his  correspondents  being  solved 
by  him  ;  and  there  were  contributions  (untraced  as 
yet)  to  the  "  United  States  Military  Magazine." 

In  "Graham's  Magazine"  for  July,  1841,  he 
speaks  in  an  entertaining  way  about  his  cryptographic 
studies  and  challenge  : 

"In  the  discussion  of  an  analogous  subject,  in  one 

I  ;o  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

of  the  weekly  papers  [Alexander's  "  Weekly  Messen 
ger"]  of  this  city  [Philadelphia],  about  eighteen 
months  ago,  the  writer  of  this  article  had  occasion  to 
speak  of  the  application  of  a  vigorous  method  in  all 
forms  of  thought,  of  its  advantages,  of  its  extension,  of 
its  use  even  to  what  is  considered  the  operation  of  pure 
fancy  —  and  thus,  subsequently,  of  the  solution  of 
cipher.  He  even  ventured  to  assert  that  no  cipher,  of 
the  character  above  specified,  could  be  sent  to  the 
address  of  the  paper  which  he  would  not  be  able  to 
resolve.  This  challenge  excited,  most  unexpectedly, 
a  very  lively  interest  among  the  numerous  readers  of 
the  journal.  Letters  were  poured  in  upon  the  editor 
from  all  parts  of  the  country  ;  and  many  of  the  writers 
of  these  epistles  were  so  convinced  of  the  impenetra 
bility  of  their  mysteries  as  to  be  at  great  pains  to  draw 
him  into  wagers  on  the  subject.  At  the  same  time, 
they  were  not  always  scrupulous  about  sticking  to  the 
point.  The  cryptographs  were,  in  numerous  in 
stances,  altogether  beyond  the  limits  defined  in  the 
beginning.  Foreign  languages  were  employed.  Words 
and  sentences  were  run  together  without  interval. 
Several  alphabets  were  used  in  the  same  cipher.  One 
gentleman,  but  moderately  endowed  with  conscien 
tiousness,  inditing  us  a  puzzle  composed  of  pot-hooks 
and  hangers  to  which  the  wildest  typography  of  the 
office  could  afford  nothing  similar,  went  even  so  far  as 
to  jumble  together  no  less  than  seven  distinct  alphabets 
without  intervals  between  the  letters  or  between  the 
lines.  Many  of  the  cryptographs  were  dated  in  Phila 
delphia,  and  several  of  those  which  urged  the  subject 
of  a  bet  were  written  by  gentlemen  of  this  city.  Out 
of,  perhaps,  one  thousand  ciphers  altogether  received, 
there  was  only  one  which  we  did  not  immediately 


succeed  in  resolving.  This  was  one  we  demonstrated 
to  be  an  imposition  —  that  is  to  say,  we  fully  proved 
it  a  jargon  of  random  characters,  having  no  meaning 
whatever.  In  respect  to  the  epistle  of  the  seven 
alphabets,  we  had  the  pleasure  of  completely  non 
plussing  its  inditer  by  a  prompt  and  satisfactory  trans 

"  The  weekly  paper  mentioned  was,  for  a  period  of 
some  months,  greatly  occupied  with  the  hieroglyphic 
and  cabalistic-looking  solutions  of  the  cryptographs 
sent  us  from  all  quarters.  Yet,  with  the  exception  of 
the  writers  of  the  ciphers,  we  do  not  believe  that  any 
individuals  could  have  been  found  among  the  readers  of 
the  journal  who  regarded  the  matter  in  any  other  light 
than  in  that  of  a  desperate  humbug.  One  party 
averred  that  the  mysterious  figures  were  only  inserted 
to  give  a  queer  air  to  the  paper,  for  the  purpose  of 
attracting  attention.  Another  thought  it  more  prob 
able  that  we  not  only  solved  the  ciphers,  but  put 
them  together  ourselves  for  solution.  This  having 
been  the  state  of  affairs  at  the  period  when  it  was 
thought  expedient  to  decline  further  dealings  in  nec 
romancy,  the  writer  of  this  article  avails  himself  of 
the  present  opportunity  to  maintain  the  truth  of  the 
journal  in  question,  to  repel  the  charges  of  rigmarole 
by  which  it  was  assailed,  and  to  declare,  in  his  own 
name,  that  the  ciphers  were  all  written  in  good  faith, 
and  solved  in  the  same  spirit."  (Article  on  "  Cryp 
tography,"  "  Graham's,"  July,  1841.) 

But  up  to  his  abrupt  departure  from  Philadelphia 
for  New  York  in  the  spring  of  1844,  Poe  wrote 
almost  as  assiduously  for  Graham  and  ff  Graham's" 
as  he  had  written  in  1834,  '35,  '36,  and  '37  for 
White  and  the  "Messenger."  Tales,  poems, 

172  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

critiques  flowed  from  his  ever-facile  pen,  which 
copied  also  and  reprinted — we  can  see  nothing  "fla 
grant  ' '  about  the  action  —  some  of  his  already  printed 
poems.  Poe  rarely  printed  a  poem  without  improv 
ing  it ;  but  for  this  reprinting  and  embellishing  process 
we  should  miss  the  final  and  exquisite  forms  of 
"Lenore,"  "  To  Helen,"  "The  Raven"  "  Isra- 
fel,"  "The  Bells,"  and  a  number  of  other  beautiful 
things.  What  Poe  reprinted  was  not  old  trumpery  : 
it  was  the  new  and  dainty  coinage  of  a  mind  ruminat 
ing  in  its  maturity  over  immature  juvenilia  and  re 
touching  them  with  a  magician's  wand. 

The  overflow  of  Poe's  genius,  —  what  did  not  ap 
pear  in  "  Graham's  "  —  appeared  in  "  The  Saturday 
Evening  Post"  (owned  by  Graham),  Snowden's 
"Lady's  Companion,"  the  "Saturday  Museum," 
Lowell's  "Pioneer,"  Miss  Leslie's  "Gift,"  "The 
Dollar  Newspaper,"  "  The  United  States  Saturday 
Post"  (anew  form  of  the  old  "Saturday  Post"), 
and  Willis's  "  Opal,"  besides  lectures  delivered  once 
in  Baltimore  and  once  in  Philadelphia  on  "  The 
Poets  and  Poetry  of  America." 

These  fruitful  years  developed  in  Poe — probably 
as  a  corollary  from  his  cryptographic  studies,  in  which 
his  faculty  of  concentrated  reasoning  grew  almost 
visibly  —  the  power  of  writing  the  ratiocinative  tale,  a 
genre  in  which  he  has  never  been  excelled.  An  ex 
hibition  of  this  power  startled  Charles  Dickens  when, 
in  the  "Saturday  Evening  Post"  for  May,  1841, 
he  predicted  the  plot  of  "  Barnaby  Rudge  "  from 
data  furnished  by  the  book  itself.  Poe's  power, 
hitherto,  had  been  descriptive,  mystic,  emotional ;  he 
had  revelled  in  the  senses  and  in  sense-products  — 
rhythm,  landscape,  psychologic  phenomena  of  a  dim 


and  terrible  yet  sensualistic  character,  borderlands 
betwixt  life  and  death,  flashes  of  the  subliminal  con 
sciousness  whence  well  up  mysterious  telepathic  com 
munications  between  the  Seen  and  the  Unseen,  fateful 
and  funereal  scenes  of  ruin,  desolation,  and  decay 
draped  in  the  utmost  pomp  and  magic  of  style. 

Now  his  mind  developed  a  strange  and  lucid  power 
of  analytical  reasoning,  like  a  sixth  sense  suddenly 
superadded  to  a  brain  already  abnormally  developed. 
The  absurd  statement  that  the  poet  left  West  Point  be 
cause  he  could  not  learn  mathematics,  or  the  technique 
of  mathematics,  would  be  refuted,  if  refutation  it 
required,  by  the  mathematically  clear  reasoning  of 
"  The  Murders  in  the  Rue  Morgue,"  "  The  Mystery 
of  Marie  Roget,"  "  The  Purloined  Letter,"  and 
"The  Gold-Bug,"  belonging  to  this  period. 

During  the  wonderfully  productive  period  of  his 
stay  in  Philadelphia,  Poe  wrote  or  published  the  fol 
lowing  items  : 

"Siope —  a  Fable  [Silence],"  "Ligeia,"  "How  to 
Write  a  Blackwood  Article  [The  Signora  Zenobia]," 
"A  Predicament  [The  Scythe  of  Time],"  "The 
Devil  in  the  Belfry,"  "  The  Man  that  was  Used 
Up,"  "  The  Fall  of  the  House  of  Usher,"  "Wil 
liam  Wilson,"  "  The  Conversation  of  Eiros  and 
Charmion,"  "Mystification  [Von  Jung],"  "Why 
the  Little  Frenchman  Wears  his  Hand  in  a  Sling," 
"The  Business  Man  [Peter  Pendulum],"  "The 
Man  of  the  Crowd,"  "The  Murders  in  the  Rue 
Morgue,"  "A  Descent  into  the  Maelstrom,"  "The 
Island  of  the  Fay,"  "  The  Colloquy  of  Monos  and 
Una,"  "  Never  Bet  the  Devil  your  Head,"  "  Three 
Sundays  in  a  Week  [A  Succession  of  Sundays]," 
"  Eleonora,"  "The  Oval  Portrait  [Life  in  Death]," 

174  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

"The  Masque  of  the  Red  Death,"  "The  Land 
scape  Garden  [part  of  "  The  Domain  of  Arn- 
heim"],"  "The  Mystery  of  Marie  Roget,"  "The 
Pit  and  the  Pendulum,"  "The  Tell-Tale  Heart," 
"The  Gold-Bug,"  "The  Black  Cat,"  "The  Elk 
[Morning  on  the  Wissahiccon]." 

This  long  list  does  not  include  literary  hack-work  like 
"  The  Conchologist's  First  Book,"  or  "  Arthur  Gor 
don  Pym  "  (in  book  form),  "  The  Journal  of  Julius 
Rodman,"  (first  unearthed  by  Mr.  J.  H.  Ingram  in 
Burton's)  and  the  very  numerous  and  brilliant  critiques 
and  poems  in  "  The  Gentleman's,"  "Graham's," 
"  The  Pioneer,"  and  other  periodicals ;  nor  "  A 
Tale  of  the  Ragged  Mountains,"  "The  Spectacles," 
"  Diddling  Considered  as  one  of  the  Exact  Sciences," 
"The  Balloon-Hoax,"  "Mesmeric  Revelation," 
"The  Premature  Burial,"  "The  Oblong  Box," 
"Thou  art  the  Man,"  and  the  "  Literary  Life  of 
Thingum-Bob  "  :  all  of  which  were  probably  com 
posed  in  Philadelphia  but  came  out  in  1844,  after 
Poe  left  the  town. 

There  are  here  enumerated  thirty-six  pieces,  all 
highly  original,  six  or  eight  standing  among  the  most 
celebrated  of  Poe's  masterpieces.  Ordinary  brains 
impelled  to  this  extent  must  needs  have  felt  the  "fag" 
which  follows  inevitably  upon  overworked  mental  pro 
cesses  ;  "his  daring  critiques,  his  analytic  essays,  and 
his  weird  stories,  following  one  another  in  quick  suc 
cession,  startled  the  public  and  compelled  it  to  an  ac 
knowledgment  of  his  powers;"  but  Poe  —  at  least  for 
a  time  —  seemed  to  possess  a  mind  bathed  in  perpetual 
vigor  and  rejuvenation.  With  admirable  good  humor 
he  worked  through  the  quires  of  puzzles,  ciphers, 
enigmas  and  cryptographs  that  poured  down  upon  him 


after  his  famous  challenge;  for  fifteen  or  eighteen 
months  he  reigned  as  the  absolute  sovereign  of  "  Gra 
ham's,"  dispensing  critical  justice  to  Longfellow, 
Hawthorne,  Dickens,  Bulwer,  Bolingbroke,  "  The 
guacks  of  Helicon,"  "  L.  E.  L.,"  the  Davidson  Sis 
ters,  Campbell's  "Petrarch,"  "The  Vicar  of  Wake- 
field,"  Heber,  Walpole,  Christopher  North,  Brainard, 
Lever,  Brougham,  Howitt,  and  others  ;  and  his  cre 
ative  powers  as  a  storyteller  revelled  in  the  long  list  of 
works  we  have  enumerated. 

He  made  three  contributions  to  Lowell's  "  Pioneer," 
a  Boston  monthly,  which  unsuccessfully  aspired  to 
the  calm,  courageous  place  dreamed  of  by  Poe.  It 
was  unsuccessful  in  that  it  lived  through  only  three 

Lowell,  like  Poe,  was  thus  pursued  by  the  vision  of 
an  impossible  magazine  which  should  altruistically  — 
at  $3  per  annum  —  substitute  for  the  "  namby-pamby 
love-tales  and  sketches  poured  forth "  on  the  long- 
suffering  public,  a  "healthy  and  manly  Periodical  Lit 
erature,"  such  as  it  could  digest. 

But  the  well-deserving  enterprise  failed,  and  Lowell 
was  to  reserve  his  strength  for  the  "Atlantic  Monthly," 
some  fourteen  years  later. 

Nothing  in  Poe's  career  is  more  creditable  to  him 
than  his  letters  to  and  his  true  courtesy  toward 
Lowell  on  the  falling  through  of  the  unfortunate  un 
dertaking,  creditable  alike  to  head  and  heart  and  purse, 
when  we  know  how  sorely  pressed  Poe  was  at  this 
time  —  and  at  all  times —  for  his  daily  bread.  When 
Lowell,  overwhelmed  with  debt  and  suffering  from 
ophthalmia,  gave  up  "The  Pioneer,"  Poe  wrote, 
March  27,  1843  : 

176  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

"  MY  DEAR  FRIEND,  —  I  have  just  received  yours  of 
the  24th  and  am  deeply  grieved  that  you  should  have 
been  so  unfortunate,  and,  secondly,  that  you  should 
have  thought  it  necessary  to  offer  me  any  apology  for 
your  misfortunes.  As  for  the  few  dollars  you  owe  me 
[it  was  $30  or  $40]  give  yourself  not  one  moment's 
concern  about  them.  I  am  poor,  but  must  be  very 
much  poorer,  indeed,  when  I  even  think  of  demand 
ing  them. 

"  But  I  sincerely  hope  all  is  not  so  bad  as  you  suppose 
it,  and  that,  when  you  come  back  to  look  about  you, 
you  will  be  able  to  continue  '  The  Pioneer.'  Its 
decease,  just  now,  would  be  a  most  severe  blow  to  the 
good  cause  —  the  cause  of  Pure  Taste.  I  have  looked 
upon  your  magazine,  from  its  outset,  as  the  best  in 
America,  and  have  lost  no  opportunity  of  expressing 
the  opinion."  l 

In  April  he  ceased  to  be  editor  of  "  Graham's." 
Why    he  resigned    is  not  circumstantially   known, 
but  the  following  quotation  from  Gill  (pp.  109,  110) 
is  suggestive  : 

"  Speaking  of  the  severing  of  Poe's  connection 
with  '  Graham's  Magazine,'  Dr.  Griswold  writes, 
'  The  infirmities  which  induced  his  separation  from 
Mr.  White  and  Mr.  Burton  at  length  compelled  Mr. 
Graham  to  find  another  editor ; '  and  also  in  the  same 
connection,  '  It  is  known  that  the  personal  ill-will  on 
both  sides  was  such  that  for  some  four  or  five  years  not 

1  Dr.  E.  E.  Male's  "James  Russell  Lowell  and  his  Friends," 
1898,  contains  an  interesting  account  of  "  The  Pioneer,"  as  does 
also  Vol.  5  of  the  "  New  England  Magazine  "  (new  series). 


a  line   by   Poe  was  purchased  for  'Graham's     Maga 
zine.'      The  italics  are  Dr.  Griswold's.    .    .   . 

"Mr.  Graham, from  whom  the  magazine  was  named, 
is  now  [1878]  living,  and  when  we  last  saw  him, 
December,  1873,  ne  was  m  excellent  health.  We 
were  then,  of  course,  intent  upon  securing  data  in 
regard  to  the  life  of  Poe ;  and  in  a  conversation  with 
Mr.  Graham,  some  peculiarly  significant  facts  touching 
Griswold's  veracity  in  particular  were  elicited. 

"  Mr.  Graham  states  that  Poe  never  quarrelled  with 
him;  never  was  discharged  from  'Graham's  Maga 
zine  ; '  and  that  during  the  '  four  or  five  years  '  itali 
cized  by  Dr.  Griswold  as  indicating  the  personal  ill-will 
between  Mr.  Poe  and  Mr.  Graham,  over  fifty  articles 
by  Poe  were  accepted  by  Mr.  Graham. 

"  The  facts  of  Mr.  Poe's  secession  from  '  Graham's' 
were  as  follows  : 

"  Mr.  Poe  was,  from  illness  or  other  causes,  absent 
for  a  short  time  from  his  post  on  the  magazine.  Mr. 
Graham  had,  meanwhile,  made  a  temporary  arrange 
ment  with  Dr.  Griswold  to  act  as  Poe's  substi 
tute  until  his  return.  Poe  came  back  unexpectedly, 
and,  seeing  Griswold  in  his  chair,  turned  on  his 
heel  without  a  word,  and  left  the  office,  nor  could  he 
be  persuaded  to  enter  it  again,  although,  as  stated,  he 
sent  frequent  contributions  thereafter  to  the  pages  of 
the  magazine." 

Griswold  himself,  according  to  Gill  (p.  112),  was 
shortly  afterwards  dismissed  by  Mr.  Graham  from  the 
editorship  of  the  magazine  for  writing  a  scurrilous 
anonymous  attack  on  Mr.  Charles  J.  Peterson,  a  gen 
tleman  prominently  connected  with  many  American 
magazines,  who  was  associated  with  Griswold  in  the 
same  office,  apparently  on  the  friendliest  terms. 
VOL.  i.  — 12 

178  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

Though  out  of  immediate  editorial  work,  Poe  con- 
tinued  to  write  with  fiercest  energy,  and  naturally  re 
curred  to  his  hope  of  establishing  an  independent"  Poe" 
magazine.  The  following  unpublished  letter,  kindly 
copied  by  Dr.  B.  W.  Green  for  us  from  a  MS.  in  the 
State  Library,  Richmond,  is  one  of  many  explaining 
the  projected  enterprise : 

PHILADELPHIA,  March  24,  1843. 

MY  DEAR  SIR,  —  With  this  letter  I  mail  to  your  ad 
dress  a  number  of  the  "  Philadelphia  Saturday  Museum/' 
containing  a  Prospectus  of  "The  Stylus,"  a  Magazine 
which  I  design  to  commence  on  the  first  of  July  next,  in 
connection  with  Mr.  Thomas  C.  Clarke  of  this  city. 

My  object  in  addressing  you  is  to  ascertain  if  the  list  of 
"The  South  :  Lit  :  Messenger  "  is  to  be  disposed  of,  and, 
if  so,  upon  what  terms.  We  are  anxious  to  purchase  the 
list  and  unite  it  with  that  of  "The  Stylus,"  provided  a 
suitable  arrangement  could  be  made.  I  should  be  happy 
to  hear  from  you  on  the  subject. 

I  hear  of  you  occasionally,  and  most  sincerely  hope 
that  you  are  doing  well.  Mrs.  Clemm  &  Virginia  desire  to 
be  remembered  to  all  our  old  acquaintances.  Believe  me, 
Yours  truly, 

P.  D.  BERNARD,  EsgRE.1  EDGAR  A.  POE. 

Poe  was  never  famous  for  his  tact,  and  it  is  doubt 
ful  whether  a  review  announced  with  such  a  battailous 
flourish  of  trumpets  —  so  denunciatory  in  its  character, 
especially  of  the  "dull"  and  "dishonest"  Quarter 
lies —  so  fierce,  stern,  uncompromising,  and  ideal  in 
its  aims  as  the  new-born  "  Stylus  "  was  to  be  —  could 

1  This  Mr.  Bernard  was  the  husband  of  one  of  Mr.  T.  W.  White's 
daughters,  the  brother-in-law  of  the  "Eliza"  to  whom  Poe  ad 
dressed  a  poem.  He  was  a  prominent  printer,  publisher,  and 
author  connected  with  "  The  Messenger." 


ever  have  succeeded  —  with  Poe  as  manager.  It  did 
succeed  admirably,  afterwards,  in  the  seventies  as 
"The  New  York  Nation,"  but  a  wider,  wiser,  and 
more  enlightened  public  opinion  had  taken  the  place  of 
the  acrimonious  cliques  and  silly  little  "  corners  in  lit 
erature  "  that  then  disfigured  Boston,  Philadelphia, 
New  York,  and  Richmond. 

At  the  same  time,  feeling  more  or  less  keenly  the  des- 
perateness  of  his  situation,  he  fell  into  eager  correspon 
dence  with  his  friend  F.  W.  Thomas,  a  Baltimorean 
of  literary  proclivities  who  was  an  office-holder  at 
Washington  under  President  Tyler,  as  to  the  possibility 
of  procuring  some  small  government  place  as  a  support 
for  Virginia,  Mrs.  Clemm,  and  himself.  Thomas  was  an 
amiable  man,  deeply  interested  in  his  friend's  welfare  ; 
but  his  efforts  to  secure  Poe  even  the  humblest  place, 
though  his  early  friend  Kennedy  was  then  a  high-placed 
official  in  Washington,  were  unavailing.  Burns  got 
into  the  excise,  Lamb  into  the  India  House,  Haw 
thorne  into  a  consulship,  but  official  patronage  was  not 
for  Poe.  The  unfortunate  man  journeyed  to  the  cap 
ital  nevertheless  and  returned  in  terrible  plight,  men 
tally  and  physically  unbalanced.  His  "  Imp  of  the 
Perverse,"  so  graphically  pictured  in  "The  Black 
Cat,"  had  made  him  present  himself  in  Washington  in 
the  most  unfavorable  light  and  shatter  such  opportuni 
ties  or  outlook  as  there  may  have  been  for  him  by  an 
access  of  wild  conduct. 

What  was  really  the  matter  with  Poe  during  a  part 
of  this  tragic  period  may  be  gathered  from  a  heart 
rending  letter  dated  six  years  after  the  occurrence.1 

"  In  this  letter  to  an  old  and  esteemed  correspond 
ent,  dated  January  4,  i  848,  Poe  thus  unbosoms  him- 

1  Ingram,   I.,  p.  215. 

l8o  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

self  of  his  secret  —  a  secret  as  gruesome  as  any  told  in 
the  most  terrible  of  his  tales : 

"  '  You  say,  Can  you  bint  to  me  what  was  the 
"terrible  evil"  which  caused  the  "irregularities,"  so 
profoundly  lamented  ?  Yes,  I  can  do  more  than 
hint.  This  "  evil  "  was  the  greatest  that  can  befall  a 
man.  Six  years  ago,  a  wife,  whom  I  loved  as  no 
man  ever  loved  before,  ruptured  a  blood-vessel  in  sing 
ing.  Her  life  was  despaired  of.  I  took  leave  of  her 
forever,  and  underwent  all  the  agonies  of  her  death. 
She  recovered  partially,  and  I  again  hoped.  At  the 
end  of  a  year,  the  vessel  broke  again.  I  went  through 
precisely  the  same  scene.  .  .  .  Then  again  —  again 
—  and  even  once  again,  at  varying  intervals.  Each 
time  I  felt  all  the  agonies  of  her  death  —  and  at  each 
accession  of  the  disorder  I  loved  her  more  dearly  and 
clung  to  her  life  with  more  desperate  pertinacity.  But 
I  am  constitutionally  sensitive  —  nervous  in  a  very  un 
usual  degree.  I  became  insane,  with  long  intervals  of 
horrible  sanity.  During  these  fits  of  absolute  uncon 
sciousness,  I  drank  —  God  only  knows  how  often  or 
how  much.  As  a  matter  of  course,  my  enemies 
referred  the  insanity  to  the  drink,  rather  than  the  drink 
to  the  insanity.  I  had,  indeed,  nearly  abandoned  all 
hope  of  a  permanent  cure,  when  I  found  one  in  the 
deatb  of  my  wife.  This  I  can  and  do  endure  [Vir 
ginia  died  January  30,  1847]  as  becomes  a  man.  It 
was  the  horrible,  never-ending  oscillation  between 
hope  and  despair  which  I  could  not  longer  have  en 
dured,  without  total  loss  of  reason.  In  the  death  of 
what  was  my  life,  then,  I  received  a  new  but  — 
Oh  God  !  —  how  melancholy  an  existence.  ' 

This,  then,  was  the  worm  that  gnawed  relentlessly 
atPoe's  heart  for  six  years,  and  well-nigh  drove  him 


Mrs.  Clemm's  daughter  and  the  wife  of  Edgar  Lilian  Poe. 

Reproduced  from  a  photograph  of  a  water-color 

sketch  in  the  possession  of  Amelia  F.  Poe. 

Copyright,  1893,  by  Amelia  F.  Poe. 


mad  —  did  madden  him,  if  we  read  between  the  lines 
of  this  letter.  As  a  writer  in  "Scribner's  Monthly," 
reviewing  Gill's  "Life  of  Poe,"  puts  it: 

"It  is  now  well  ascertained  that  Poe's  intoxication 
was  a  thing  caused  by  even  the  smallest  quantity  of 
wine,  and  took  the  form  of  terrible  despondency  or 
of  strange  and  highly  intellectual  but  deranged  orations 
on  abstruse  subjects,  and  that  he  was  a  kind  husband, 
gentle-mannered  in  his  associations  with  many  persons, 
and  exceedingly  industrious  about  his  writing.  Still, 
that  he  was  subject  to  intoxication,  and  was  at  times 
intensely  irritable,  are  facts  sufficiently  attested.  The 
excessive  susceptibility  to  liquor  is  to  be  charged  prob 
ably  to  his  father,  who  was  a  drinker  ;  and  Poe's  de 
scent  from  an  old  line  of  Italian  nobles  who  went  to 
Normandy  and  thence  to  Ireland,  mixing  their  peculiar 
traits  with  the  ardor,  the  simplicity,  the  powerful 
affections  of  the  Irish  character,  may  account  for  his 
keen  sensitiveness,  as  well  as  for  some  of  his  metrical 
predilections.  When  we  reflect  that,  in  addition,  he 
was  bred  in  our  high-tempered  South,  we  have  an 
other  factor  in  the  difficult  problem  of  his  life." 

The  critic  then  goes  on  to  show  that  the  other 
writers  of  note  of  the  time  or  a  little  later  had  ex 
traneous  help  in  their  literary  struggles  :  Longfellow 
and  Lowell  became  professors ;  Irving  and  Prescott, 
Motley  and  Bancroft,  Bayard  Taylor  and  G.  P. 
Marsh  rose  to  be  ministers  plenipotentiary ;  Bryant 
and  Whittier  were  successful  journalists  ;  Hawthorne 
was  snugly  ensconced  in  government  positions  at 
Salem  and  Liverpool  ;  and  Holmes  practised  medicine. 
"  But  Poe  had  not  the  business  talents  requisite  to  gain 
even  their  transient  and  harassed  ascendency.  It  is 
not  difficult  for  any  one  who  knows  the  literary  life,  to 


spirit  of  beauty,  which  he  felt  was  fading  before  his 
eyes.  I  have  seen  him  hovering  around  her  when 
she  was  ill,  with  all  the  fond  fear  and  tender  anxiety 
of  a  mother  for  her  first-born  —  her  slightest  cough 
causing  in  him  a  shudder,  a  breast  chill,  that  was 
visible.  I  rode  out  one  summer  evening  with  them, 
and  the  remembrance  of  his  watchful  eyes,  eagerly 
bent  upon  the  slightest  change  of  hue  in  that  loved 
face,  haunts  me  yet  as  the  memory  of  a  sad  strain. 
It  was  this  hourly  anticipation  of  her  loss  that  made 
him  a  sad  and  thoughtful  man,  and  lent  a  mournful 
melody  to  his  undying  song." 

The  worship  of  Woman  indeed  —  das  ewig  Weib- 
licbe  —  was  an  absorbing  feature  of  the  domestic  as 
well  as  of  the  literary  life  of  Edgar  Poe.  Women  are 
the  most  eager  and  impassioned  defenders  of  his  be 
draggled  memory  ;  women  were  the  idols  and  the 
guardian  angels  of  his  household  ;  women  are  the 
themes  of  his  most  exquisite  poems  ;  women  have 
erected,  in  Baltimore,  the  most  costly  monument  to 
his  memory.  No  writer  has  described,  analyzed, 
viewed  Poe  more  sympathetically,  with  deeper  insight, 
than  Mrs.  Whitman,  Mrs.  Osgood,  Mrs.  Weiss, 
"Stella,"  Mrs.  Shelton,  or  Mrs.  Shew,  four  of 
them  at  least  women  of  genius  capable  of  describing 
and  analyzing  what  they  saw. 

In  the  "  Poetic  Principle,"  after  quoting  Byron's 

"  Though  the  day  of  my  destiny  's  o'er," 

Poe  adds  :  "  No  nobler  theme  ever  engaged  the  pen 
of  poet.  It  is  the  soul-elevating  idea,  that  no  man 
can  consider  himself  entitled  to  complain  of  Fate 
while,  in  his  adversity,  he  still  retains  the  unwavering 
love  of  woman."  And  later,  in  the  same  lecture,  he 
continues : 

184  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

"  He  feels  it  [true  Poetry ]  in  the  beauty  of  woman, 
in  the  grace  of  her  step,  in  the  lustre  of  her  eye,  in 
the  melody  of  her  voice,  in  her  soft  laughter,  in  her 
sigh,  in  the  harmony  of  the  rustling  of  her  robes.  He 
deeply  feels  it  in  her  winning  endearments,  in  her 
burning  enthusiasms,  in  her  gentle  charities,  in  her 
meek  and  devotional  endurances  ;  but  above  all  —  ah! 
far  above  all  —  he  kneels  to  it,  he  worships  it  in  the 
faith,  in  the  purity,  in  the  strength,  in  the  altogether 
divine  majesty  of  her  love." 

It  is  this  love  which  Mrs.  Frances  S.  Osgood  so 
beautifully  depicts  in  the  following  words  :  -1 

"I  believe  she  [Virginia]  was  the  only  woman 
whom  he  ever  truly  loved  ;  and  this  is  evidenced  by 
the  exquisite  pathos  of  the  little  poem,  lately  written, 
called  'Annabel  Lee,'  of  which  she  was  the  subject, 
and  which  is  by  far  the  most  natural,  simple,  tender, 
and  touchingly  beautiful  of  all  his  songs.  I  have 
heard  it  said  that  it  was  intended  to  illustrate  a  late 
love  affair  of  the  author  ;  but  they  who  believe  this 
have,  in  their  dulness,  evidently  misunderstood  or 
missed  the  beautiful  meaning  latent  in  the  most  lovely 
of  all  its  verses,  where  he  says  : 

"  '  A  wind  blew  out  of  a  cloud,  chilling 

My  beautiful  Annabel  Lee, 
So  that  her  highborn  kinsmen  came 
And  bore  her  away  from  me.' 

"  There  seems  a  strange  and  almost  profane  disre 
gard  of  the  sacred  purity  and  spiritual  tenderness  of 
this  delicious  ballad,  in  thus  overlooking  the  allusion  to 
the  kindred  angels  and  the  heavenly  Father  of  the  lost 
and  loved  and  unforgotten  wife." 

And  surely  no  loveless  son-in-law  could  ever  have 

1  See  Vol.  II. 


addressed  to  his  mother-in-law  such  a  sonnet  as  Poe 
addressed  to  Mrs.  Clemm  —  his  <(  more  than  mother  " 
—  who  was 

"  —  dearer  than  the  mother  I  knew 
By  that  infinity  with  which  my  wife 
Was  dearer  to  my  soul  than  its  soul-life." 

Poets  do  not  usually  celebrate  their  mothers-in-law 
in  strains  like  these. 

"  It  was  during  their  stay  there  "  [in  Spring  Garden, 
Philadelphia],  relates  Mr.  A.  B.  Harris  in  "Hearth 
and  Home,"  i  870,  "  that  Mrs.  Poe,  while  singing  one 
evening,  ruptured  a  blood-vessel,  and  after  that  she 
suffered  a  hundred  deaths.  She  could  not  bear  the 
slightest  exposure,  and  needed  the  utmost  care  ;  and 
all  those  conveniences  as  to  apartment  and  surround 
ings  which  are  so  important  in  the  case  of  an  invalid 
were  almost  matters  of  life  and  death  to  her.  And 
yet  the  room  where  she  lay  for  weeks,  hardly  able  to 
breathe,  except  as  she  was  fanned,  was  a  little  place 
with  the  ceiling  so  low  over  the  narrow  bed  that  her 
head  almost  touched  it.  But  no  one  dared  to  speak, 
Mr.  Poe  was  so  sensitive  and  irritable  ;  '  quick  as  steel 
and  flint,'  said  one  who  knew  him  in  those  days. 
And  he  would  not  allow  a  word  about  the  danger  of 
her  dying  ;  the  mention  of  it  drove  him  wild." 

And  yet,  wrung  in  heart  and  soul  as  he  was  during 
these  melancholy  Philadelphia  years  (1842-44),  he 
continued  to  pour  forth  a  rich  volume  of  work  in 
"  The  Mystery  of  Marie  Roget,"  "  The  Purloined 
Letter,"  "The  Gold-Bug,"  «  The  Oblong  Box," 
'<  The  Pit  and  the  Pendulum,"  and  many  reviews  of 
Home,  Charming,  Halleck,  Cooper,  Gris  wold's 
"Poets,"  etc.,  the  poem  "Dreamland,"  "The 
Balloon- Hoax/'  etc.,  etc. 

1 86  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

In  1843  an  attempted  edition  in  parts,  of  "The 
Prose  Romances  of  Edgar  A.  Poe  "  fell  through,  only 
"The  Murders  in  the  Rue  Morgue,"  and  "The 
Man  that  was  Used  Up,"  appearing  in  paper  covers. 

Poe' s  Parthian  dart  —  his  fatal  offence  —  before 
leaving  Philadelphia,  was  flung  at  Griswold  in  the  shape 
of  a  lecture  on  (t  The  Poets  and  Poetry  of  America," 
delivered  in  November,  1843:  a  caustic  excoriation 
of  the  compiler  who  yet  had  done  much  admirable 
work  in  his  self-imposed  function  of  Old  Mortality  to 
the  unknown. 

In  April,  1844,  Poe  found  himself  again  in  New 
York  whither  he  seemed  inevitably  to  drift.  The 
seven  years  from  1837,  when  he  gave  up  the  editor 
ship  of  the  "  Southern  Literary  Messenger,"  to  April, 
1844,  during  which  he  had  successfully  edited  —  and 
abandoned  —  Burton's  lt Gentleman's  Magazine"  and 
"  Graham's,"  had  been  the  most  fruitful  of  his  career. 
This  period  was  the  high-water  mark  period  of  the 
publication  of  the  (f  Tales  of  the  Grotesque  and  Ara 
besque,"  and  of  the  editorship  of  the  chief  literary 
journal  of  the  country  :  a  period  of  many  friendships 
and  many  enmities,  of  constant  struggle,  of  varied  and 
continuous  authorship,  of  rapid  and  remarkable  intel 
lectual  advance.  The  health  of  the  family  had  suffered 
terribly  in  Philadelphia  ;  Virginia  had  entered  on  the 
course  of  lingering  illness  which  was  to  terminate 
fatally  in  1847  when  she  was  hardly  more  than  a 
girl ;  and  Poe,  unstrung  by  her  alarming  hemorrhages, 
by  over- work,  and  by  semi-starvation,  gave  up  to  the 
fearful  temptation  which  assaulted  him  at  times  with 
irresistible  force  and  made  him  seek  oblivion  in  drugs 
and  drink.  Philadelphia  had  become  a  disenchanted 
place  :  the  family  moved  to  New  York. 





CONSCIENCE  is  an  awkward  ingredient  to  mingle 
with  things.  The  conscientious  man  is  always  a  ter 
ror  to  the  community.  Let  it  be  known  that  a  man 
has  a  conscience,  that  he  means  to  exercise  it,  that 
neither  fear  nor  favor  will  intimidate  him  from  his 
sense  of  duty  to  himself  and  to  that  community  :  and 
instantly  such  a  man  becomes  a  bugbear,  a  scarecrow, 
an  offence,  and  a  scourge  to  the  evil-doer  and  the  un- 

When  he  settled  in  New  York,  for  the  second  time, 
in  April,  1 844,  Poe  had  become  this  incarnation  of 
the  literary  conscience  of  the  time.  From  the  moment 
he  had  reviewed  "  Norman  Leslie  "  in  the  "  South 
ern  Literary  Messenger ' '  and  pricked  the  spangled 
bubbles  that  then  danced  before  the  public  eye,  down 
to  the  date  of  his  departure  from  Philadelphia,  the  crit 
ical  instinct  —  the  literary  conscience  —  had  been 
growing  in  him  with  vast  strides.  (f  I  have  sometimes 
amused  myself,"  he  says  in  (S  Marginalia,"  "by  en 
deavoring  to  fancy  what  would  be  the  fate  of  an  in 
dividual  gifted,  or  rather  accursed  with  an  intellect 
very  far  superior  to  that  of  his  race.  Of  course  he 
would  be  conscious  of  his  own  superiority  ;  nor  could 
he  (if  otherwise  constituted  as  man  is)  help  manifest- 

1 88  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

ing  his  consciousness.  Thus  he  would  make  himself 
enemies  at  all  points.  And  since  his  opinions  and 
speculations  would  widely  differ  from  those  of  all  man 
kind  —  that  he  would  be  considered  a  madman,  is 
evident.  How  horribly  painful  such  a  condition  ! 
Hell  could  invent  no  greater  torture  than  that  of  a 
being  charged  with  abnormal  weakness  on  account  of 
being  abnormally  strong.' ' 

In  his  many  letters  and  prospectuses  touching  upon 
this  subject,  Poe  had  continually  referred  to  the  need 
of  a  free,  independent,  and  fearless  school  of  criticism 
in  this  country.  What,  in  his  "  Marginalia,"  he 
describes  as  the  "disgusting  spectacle  of  our  subservi 
ency  to  British  criticism,"  was  no  less  painful  to  him 
than  the  indiscriminate  laudation  of  every  American 
poetaster  by  the  native,  one  might  call  it  the  domestic , 
press  of  the  period. 

"  We  know  the  British  to  bear  us  little  but  ill-will ; 
we  know  that,  in  no  case,  do  they  utter  unbiassed 
opinions  of  American  books  ;  we  know  that  in  the  few 
instances  in  which  our  writers  have  been  treated  with 
common  decency  in  England,  these  writers  have  either 
openly  paid  homage  to  English  institutions,  or  have 
had  lurking  at  the  bottom  of  their  hearts  a  secret  prin 
ciple  at  war  with  Democracy  :  —  we  know  all  this, 
and  yet,  day  after  day,  submit  our  necks  to  the  de 
grading  yoke  of  the  crudest  opinion  that  emanates  from 
the  fatherland.  Now  if  we  must  have  nationality, 
let  it  be  a  nationality  that  will  throw  off  this  yoke." 

Year  by  year  the  accumulating  wrath  of  his  literary 
conscience,  his  sense  of  self-respect  and  national  inde 
pendence,  had  gone  on  growing  until  it  became  a  lake 
of  fire,  and  finally  broken  forth  volcanically  in  "The 
Literati  "  and  the  group  of  studies  on  "  The  Minor 


Contemporaries"  extending  from  1839,  with  "  George 
P.  Morris,"  to  1845,  with  "Elizabeth  Oakes 

Not  that  the  "lake  of  fire"  did  not  illuminate  as 
well  as  flame,  scorch,  and  burn  :  much  of  this  criti 
cism  is  optimistic  and  sweet-tempered,  but  into  it 
entered  one  element  of  discrimination,  of  art,  of  sound 
literary  feeling  and  sense  of  proportion  that  was  not  to 
be  found  in  contemporary  criticism  before.  Poe  from 
the  start  was  an  analyst  of  admirable  powers  :  he  never 
wrote  from  mere  "instinct"  or  intuition,  and  he  was 
as  far  from  the  rhapsodic,  ignorant,  and  egotistical 
Wilson  in  temperament  as  he  was  distant  from  him, 
geographically,  in  space.  If  he  wrote  a  fine  or  a  noble 
poem,  he  was  ready  instantly  with  a  (f  Rationale  of 
Verse  "  or  a  "  Philosophy  of  Composition  "  to  explain 
it ;  and  what  one  reads,  in  him,  with  such  exquisite 
ease,  grace  and  melody,  was  based  upon  profound  know 
ledge  and  subtle  analytical  reasoning.  The  "trick" 
of  Poe  is  easily  caught,  but  it  was  not  easily  originated  : 
he  was  the  sovereign  of  lyrical  form  in  America  in  his 
day,  and  his  sovereignty  was  based  upon  supreme 
rhythmical  feeling  backed  by  completest  poetic  know 

Being,  like  his  supposititious  critic,  "gifted,  or  rather 
accursed,  with  an  intellect  very  far  superior  to  that  of 
his  race,"  conscious  of  this  superiority  and  unable  to 
control  the  consciousness,  with  opinions  and  specula 
tions  widely  different  from  those  of  all  mankind,  he 
easily  made  himself  enemies  and  was  hooted  at  as  a 
madman,  as  abnormally  weak,  because  he  was  so  ab 
normally,  so  unintelligibly,  strong.  Heine  was  hooted 
at  in  almost  the  same  terms  and  for  almost  the  same 
reasons  :  the  man  of  "  accursed  conscience  "  in  liter- 


ary  matters  who  could  not  and  would  not  endure  the 
literary  sloven. 

Apropos  of  Foe's  pungency  in  criticism,  it  will  be 
well  to  quote  here  a  letter  from  the  famous  Dr.  Thomas 
Holley  Chivers  who,  on  receiving  one  of  Poe's  pro 
spectuses,  wrote  in  1 840  as  follows  : 

No.  47,  CANAL  STREET,  N.Y., 
August  27th,  1840. 

DEAR  SIR,  —  I  received  your  letter  this  evening, 
containing  a  Prospectus  of  the  "  Penn  Magazine," 
which  you  intend  publishing  in  the  City  of  Philadel 
phia.  My  absence  from  the  City,  among  the  emerald 
highlands  of  the  beautiful  Hudson,  prevented  my 
answering  it  sooner  than  to-day.  In  answer  to  your 
solicitation  for  my  support  for  the  forthcoming  Journal, 
I  must  say  that  I  am  much  pleased  with  your  "Pro 
spectus  "  —  the  plan  which  you  have  in  view  —  and 
hope  sincerely  that  you  may  realize  all  your  antici 
pations.  As  it  regards  myself,  I  will  support  you  as 
long  as  you  may  continue  the  Editor  of  the  above- 
named  work.  In  the  Paradise  of  Literature,  I  do  not 
know  one  better  calculated  than  yourself  to  prune  the 
young  scions  of  their  exuberant  thoughts.  In  some 
instances,  let  me  remark,  you  seemed  to  me  to  lay  aside 
the  pruning-knife  for  the  tomahawk,  and  not  only  to 
lop  off  the  redundant  limbs,  but  absolutely  to  eradicate 
the  entire  tree.  In  such  cases  there  is  no  hope  of  its 
afterwards  bearing  any  fruit.  In  surgical  operations  we 
always  use  a  sharp  knife,  and  wish  to  be  as  expeditious 
as  possible  ;  but  we  never  go  so  far  as  to  cut  away  so 
much  of  a  part  as  to  endanger  the  vitality  of  the  whole. 
If  we  find,  as  in  cases  of  gangrene,  that  the  vital  part 
is  so  affected  that  an  operation  would  be  unsafe,  we 


then  choose  to  let  the  patient  die  a  natural  death, 
rather  than  hasten  it  by  our  surgical  art.  I  have  seen 
a  little  sapling  transplanted  before  now,  which  had 
every  appearance  of  dying  until  it  had  undergone  a 
gentle  pruning  and  watering,  when,  to  the  astonish 
ment  of  the  gardener,  it  towered  above  all  the  rest  in 
the  grove,  and  remained  a  living  monument  of  his  skill 
and  kind  attention.  The  same  thing  is  true  in  regard 
to  the  literary  world.  Bad  treatment  to  the  human 
economy  will  make  a  chronic  disease  sooner  than  a 
functional  one,  [and]  by  its  own  process,  will  termi 
nate  in  organic  derangement.1 

Poe's  mistake  was  in  using  the  giant  spear  and  the 
mighty  girdle  of  Brunhilda  in  crushing  infinitesimal 
foes  :  in  rushing  upon  Dawes  and  Fay  and  "  Flaccus  " 
and  Headley,  upon  Channing,  English,  and  Clark 
with  the  fury  of  a  whirlwind  when  a  zephyr  would 
have  sufficed.  The  "  Dunciad "  and  "English 
Bards"  were  blown  full  of  futile  breath  in  the  same 
way  :  flies  that  would  have  perished  of  their  own 
inanity  now  embalmed  in  indestructible  amber.  To 
use  a  homely  image,  it  will  not  do  for  the  barber  that 
shaves  us  to  sever  our  jugular  vein  !  As  a  physician, 
Dr.  Chivers  understood  well  the  application  of  his  sur 
gical  metaphor,  and  it  would  have  been  well  for  Poe 
if  he  had  taken  the  letter  to  heart. 

Up  to  the  present  date  Poe  had  been  going  through 
the  first  of  the  two  cycles  of  psychological  prepara 
tion  which  he  attributed  to  the  Germany  of  his  day : 
the  "  impulsive"  and  the  "critical"  stages. 

"Germans  have  not  yet  passed  this  first    epoch" 

1  Passages  from  the  Correspondence  of  R.  W.  Griswold.  By 
W.  M.  Griswold,  Cambridge,  1898. 

192  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

["  the  impulsive  epoch  of  literary  civilization  M] .  "  It 
must  be  remembered  that  during  the  whole  of  the 
middle  ages  they  ]*ved  in  utter  ignorance  of  the  art  of 
writing.  From  so  total  a  darkness,  of  so  late  a  date, 
they  could  not,  as  a  nation,  have  as  yet  fully  emerged 
into  the  second  or  critical  epoch.  Individual  Germans 
have  been  critical  in  the  best  sense  ;  but  the  masses  are 
unleavened.  Literary  Germany  thus  presents  the  sin 
gular  spectacle  of  the  impulsive  spirit  surrounded  by 
the  critical,  and,  of  course,  in  some  measure  influenced 
thereby.  .  .  .  For  my  own  part,  I  admit  the  German 
vigor,  the  German  directness,  boldness,  imagination, 
and  some  other  qualities  of  impulse,  just  as  I  am  willing 
to  admit  and  admire  these  qualities  in  the  first  (or 
impulsive)  epochs  of  British  and  French  letters. 
At  the  German  criticism,  however,  I  cannot  refrain 
from  laughing  all  the  more  heartily,  all  the  more  se 
riously  I  hear  it  praised.  Not  that,  in  detail,  it  affects 
me  as  an  absurdity  —  but  in  the  adaptation  of  its  details. 
It  abounds  in  brilliant  bubbles  of  suggestion,  but  these 
rise  and  sink  and  jostle  each  other,  until  the  whole  vor 
tex  of  thought  in  which  they  originate  is  one  indis 
tinguishable  chaos  of  froth." 

This  statement  is  simply  tantamount  to  saying  that 
Poe  had  ripened,  that  the  richness  and  luxuriance  of 
his  youth  had  mellowed  down  into  clear  vigor  and 
manly  strength,  that  this  youth  was  fading  into  a  mel 
lowed  manhood  in  which  the  full  plenitude  of  his 
powers  was  developing  along  intellectual  lines.  Nearly 
all  his  early  work  —  up  at  least  to  1839,  when  he 
was  thirty  years  old  —  seems  to  have  come  in  jets,  in 
instantaneous  inspirations,  in  impulsive  spurts,  geyser- 
like  in  splendor  and  abundance  but  bearing  all  the 
birthmarks  of  his  theory  of  the  short  story,  the  short 


poem  —  that  they  must  be  read  at  a  sitting.  When 
he  worked  at  all  he  worked  with  a  kind  of  frenzy,  a 
blind  fury,  that  pursued  him  day  and  night  until 
he  had  rid  himself  of  it  by  writing  it  off.  In 
colder  moments,  he  returned  to  the  polishing  process, 
using  his  delicate  emery  wheel,  his  diamond  dust,  dili 
gently  to  erase  the  angles  and  roughnesses  of  the  earlier 
sketches  or  poems ;  substituting  critical  for  impulsive 
moods,  and  turning  the  cold  light  of  reason  upon  the 
imaginative  landscapes  and  emotional  tropics  which  his 
exuberant  youth  had  evoked. 

With  the  1840  edition  of  "The  Tales  of  the 
Grotesque  and  the  Arabesque,"  Poe  had  virtually 
crossed  the  equatorial  line  of  youth  and  entered  the 
new  territory  of  deductive  reasoning  and  perfection 
in  rhythmical  form.  Nothing  henceforth  passed  his 
pen  that  did  not  possess  perfection  of  one  kind  or 
another :  his  prose  style  simplifies  and  clarifies  to 
complete  lucidity  ;  his  poems  take  on  changing 
lights  and  lustres  that  they  never  had  before ;  his 
critical  sense  awakens  to  a  keenness  and  alertness 
that  did  not  scruple  to  analyze  Tennyson,  Dickens, 
Macaulay,  Miss  Barrett,  Longfellow,  Lowell,  Emer 
son,  and  show  their  defects  as  well  as  their  excel 
lences  :  in  short,  Poe  was  ripe ;  whatever  was  to 
come  from  him  henceforth,  in  the  new  cycle  of  exist 
ence  on  which  he  had  entered,  was  to  show  this  ripe 

Poe  signalized  his  arrival  in  New  York  in  April, 
1844,  ^7  a  characteristic  bit  of  fun  :  the  "  Balloon- 
Hoax,"  published  in  the  New  York  "Sun"  for 
April  i  3 . 

"About  twelve  years  ago,  I  think,"  he  remarks 
in  his  critique  on  Richard  Adams  Locke,  "the  New 
VOL.  i.— 13 

194  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

York  '  Sun, '  a  daily  paper,  price  one  penny,  was 
established  in  the  city  of  New  York  by  Mr.  Moses  Y. 
Beach,  who  engaged  Mr.  Richard  Adams  Locke  as  its 
editor.  In  a  well- written  prospectus,  the  object  of 
the  journal  professed  to  be  that  of 'supplying  the  public 
with  the  news  of  the  day  at  so  cheap  a  rate  as  to  lie 
within  the  means  of  all.'  The  consequences  of  the 
scheme,  in  their  influence  on  the  whole  newspaper 
business  of  the  country,  and  through  this  business  on 
the  interests  of  the  country  at  large,  are  probably  be 
yond  all  calculation. 

"...  The  '  Sun  '  was  revolving  in  a  compara 
tively  narrow  orbit  when  one  fine  day,  there 
appeared  in  its  editorial  columns  a  prefatory  article 
announcing  very  remarkable  astronomical  discov 
eries  at  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope  by  Sir  John 
Herschel.  The  information  was  said  to  have  been 
received  by  the  '  Sun '  from  an  early  copy  of  the 
*  Edinburgh  Journal  of  Science,'  in  which  appeared  a 
communication  from  Sir  John  himself.  This  prepara 
tory  announcement  took  very  well  (there  had  been  no 
hoaxes  in  those  days),  and  was  followed  by  full  de 
tails  of  the  reputed  discoveries,  which  were  now  found 
to  have  been  made  chiefly  in  respect  to  the  moon, 
and  by  means  of  a  telescope  to  which  the  one  lately 
constructed  by  the  Earl  of  Rosse  is  a  plaything.  As 
these  discoveries  were  gradually  spread  before  the  pub 
lic,  the  astonishment  of  that  public  grew  out  of  all 
bounds  ;  but  those  who  questioned  the  veracity  of  the 
'  Sun  '  —  the  authenticity  of  the  communication  to  the 
'  Edinburgh  Journal  of  Science  '  —  were  really  very 
few  indeed  ;  and  this  I  am  forced  to  look  upon  as  a 
far  more  wonderful  thing  than  any  '  man-bat '  of 
them  all." 


ting  from  the  pen  of  Locke  about  three  weeks  after 
the  publication  of  Poe's  "  Hans  Pfaall's  Journey  to 
the  Moon,"  in  the  "  Southern  Literary  Messenger  " 
for  June,  1835. 

"From  the  epoch  of  the  hoax,  the  <Sun,'  "  con 
tinues  Poe,  "  shone  with  unmitigated  splendor.  The 
start  thus  given  the  paper  insured  it  a  triumph  ;  it  has 
now  a  daily  circulation  of  not  far  from  50,000  copies, 
and  is,  therefore,  probably  the  most  really  influential 
journal  of  its  kind  in  the  world.  Its  success  firmly 
established  the  '  penny  system  '  throughout  the  coun 
try,  and  (through  the  'Sun')  consequently,  we  are 
indebted  to  the  genius  of  Mr.  Locke  for  one  of  the 
most  important  steps  ever  yet  taken  in  the  pathway  of 
human  progress." 

It  was  in  this  "  Sun,"  already  famous  for  its  astro 
nomical  hoax,  that  Poe  appeared  one  morning  (fit 
tingly  on  April  i ) ,  in  large  capitals,  bearing  — 

"Astounding  News  by  Express,  via  Norfolk  !  The 
Atlantic  crossed  in  Three  Days  ! !  Signal  Triumph 
of  Mr.  Monck  Mason's  Flying  Machine  !  !  ! 

"  Arrival  at  Sullivan'*  Island,  near  Charleston, 
S.  C.,  of  Mr.  Mason,  Mr.  Robert  Holland,  Mr.  Hen- 
son,  Mr.  Harrison  Ainsworth,  and  four  others,  in  the 
Steering  Balloon,  '  Victoria,'  after  a  passage  of  seventy- 
five  hours  from  Land  to  Land !  Full  Particulars  of 
the  Voyage  !  " 

"  The  Balloon-Hoax  "  produced  a  prodigious  sen 
sation,  and  once  more  Poe  rode,  Triton-like,  on  the 
crest  of  a  wave  of  popularity,  blowing  his  horn  and 
scattering  the  spray  of  his  laughter  in  the  faces  of  the 

196  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

gullible.  This  lifelong  love  of  hoaxing  was,  in  Poc, 
curiously  intertwined  with  a  continual  mystical  hanker 
ing  after  the  incredible,  after  the  dim  borderlands  be 
tween  conscious  and  subconscious  life,  after  such  a 
literary  utilization  of  science  as  might  half  persuade  him 
self  and  others  of  things  undreamt  of  in  the  crude 
physical  philosophies  of  the  day.  His  tales  of  pseudo- 
science  were  just  "  pseudo,"  just  false,  and  just  true 
enough  to  confuse  and  becloud  the  half-educated  mob 
of  the  "  forties,"  and  make  them  take  delight  in  such 
transcendental  physics  and  metaphysics  as  Poe,  ex 
pressing  them  in  his  supremely  convincing  and  strenu 
ous  style,  could  conjure  up  at  will.  Poe  might  talk 
the  most  absolute  scientific  nonsense,  as  doubtless 
he  often  did,  but  he  did  it  in  such  forceful  and  capti 
vating  style  that  none  but  trained  scientists  could  dis 
sent  or  protest.  How  few  read  "  The  Power  of 
Words"  or  "  Eiros  and  Charmion,"  beautiful  and 
imaginative  as  these  pieces  are,  with  any  feeling  of  the 
absolute  baselessness  of  the  physical  theories  on  which 
they  rest,  —  lost  in  admiration  of  the  fantastic  energy 
and  pictorial  quality  of  the  entirely  new  language  in 
which  all  their  impossibilities  are  arrayed. 

And  this  breaks  the  way  into  a  suggestive  line  of 
speculation  for  us,  to  wit :  in  these  "  Tales  of  Psuedo- 
Science,"  "Hans  Pfaall,"  "MS.  Found  in  a  Bottle," 
"Descent  into  the  Maelstrom,"  "The  Thousand- 
and-Second-Tale  of  Scheherazade,"  "Some  Words 
with  a  Mummy,"  "Mesmeric  Revelation,"  "The 
Facts  in  the  Case  of  M.  Valdemar,"  "Power  of 
Words,"  "  Eiros  and  Charmion  "  — even  in  "  Eu 
reka  "  — may  not  Poe  be  indulging,  as  he  undoubtedly 
and  confessedly  was  in  "Hans  Pfaall"  and  "The 
Facts  in  the  Case  of  M.  Valdemar,"  in  a  kind  of 


subtle,  subterranean  banter,  using  his  physical  and 
scientific  knowledge  just  plausibly  enough  to  bewilder 
the  psuedo-scientific  reader  and  extort  from  him  cries 
of  delight  over  what  probably  Poe  himself  knew,  and 
the  twentieth  century  physicist  adjudges  to  be,  the 
wildest  extravaganza?  "The  fairytale  of  science" 
in  the  hands  of  a  great  verbal  artist  like  Poe  could  be 
made  a  wonderfully  prolific  source  of  pleasure  to 
readers  who  could  simply  admire  and  not  follow  his 
semi-mystic  excursions  into  the  scientific  realm.  To 
them  every  hour  of  Hans  Pfaall's  lunar  journey  would 
be  a  rapturous  panorama  of  unfolding  facts,  every 
whirl  in  the  Maelstrom  descent  would  be  a  shuddering 
possibility,  every  toss  of  the  phantom  ship  on  the 
ghostly  foam  of  the  "  MS.  Found  in  a  Bottle/'  hurry 
ing  to  destruction  yet  never  destroyed,  would  be  re 
alizable  in  imaginative  experience. 

And  the  more  one  recognizes  the  fact  that  Poe  was 
a  recondite  and  most  exquisite  humorist — that  he  con 
tinually  preyed  with  almost  morbid  pertinacity  upon 
the  gullibility  of  human  nature,  "accursed  "  as  he 
was  with  "the  gift  of  intellect  superior  to  his  race  " — 
the  more  one  is  inclined  to  believe  that  his  use  of 
science  was  not  intentionally  ignorant  or  unconsciously 
false,  but  that  it  was  another  and  subtler  method  of 
capturing  other  and  subtler  intellects  to  his  spells,  as 
he  captured  many  physicians  with  his  "  mesmeric 
revelations,"  and  found  "a  grave  professor  of  mathe 
matics  in  a  Virginian  college  "  ready  to  believe  the 
"  Moon  Hoax  "  of  Locke.  The  delicious  rigmarole^ 
the  refined  Miinchausenism,  of  his  scientific  romances, 
show  an  unparalleled  fertility  of  talent  in  the  line  of 
artistic  deception,  just  as  "  The  Murders  in  the  Rue 
Morgue  ' '  was  so  plausibly  written  that  it  deceived 

198  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

the  French  critics  and  was  looked  upon  as  a  true  nar 
rative.  "The  Narrative  of  Arthur  Gordon  Pym" 
was  republished  in  London  as  an  actual  voyage  of 

Hoaxing  is  thus  seen  to  be  an  ingrained  element  of 
Foe's  intellectual  make-up,  and  he  has,  in  our  opinion, 
carried  it  to  a  far  greater  distance  and  into  far  more 
mysterious  realms  than  his  students  and  biographers 
have  hitherto  noticed. 

Poe's  places  of  residence  in  New  York  prior  to  his 
final  removal  to  Fordham  cottage  (now  the  property 
of  the  New  York  Shakspere  Society),  in  1846,  were 
numerous  and  varied.  A  writer  in  "  The  Ledger 
Monthly"  for  December,  1900,  speaks  of  them  as 
follows  :  — 

"  Edgar  Allan  Poe  once  dwelt  with  his  ailing  wife 
on  the  upper  floor  of  a  small  brick  house  at  195  East 
Broadway,  now  replaced  by  the  building  of  the  Edu 
cational  Alliance,  and  other  neighboring  places  have 
piquant  associations  with  this  gifted  man.  Temple 
Court,  in  Beekman  Street,  covers  the  site  of  an  office 
of  his  short-lived  '  Broadway  Journal  ' ;  at  the  cor 
ner  of  Ann  and  Nassau  streets  he  was  employed  by 
Willis  upon  the  '  Evening  Mirror,'  and  in  Green 
wich  Street,  near  to  Rector,  there  stands  in  the  shadow 
of  the  elevated  railway  a  shabby  structure  that  was  his 
abode  when  he  wrote  f  The  Balloon-Hoax  '  and  the 
curious  poem  of  '  Dreamland. ' 

"  Going  farther  afield  one  finds  on  the  west  side  of 
Carmine  Street  above  Varick  the  site  of  the  modest 
frame  house  in  which  Poe  lived  when  he  gave  the 
finishing  touches  to  the  «  Narrative  of  Arthur  Gordon 
Pym,'  and  had  Gowans,  the  bookseller,  for  a  fellow- 


lodger  ;  later,  with  Gowans,  he  had  brief  occupancy 
of  one  of  the  floors,  now  darkened  by  passing  trains, 
of  a  building  in  Sixth  Avenue,  near  Waverley  Place, 
and  in  this  forbidding  abode  produced  '  Ligeia  '  and 
'  The  Fall  of  the  House  of  Usher/  while  in  an  old- 
fashioned  dwelling  lately  gone  from  West  Eighty -fourth 
Street  the  poet  and  his  family  boarded  when  he  wrote 
'The  Facts  in  the  Case  of  M.  Valdemar/  and,  if 
tradition  is  to  be  relied  upon,  his  most  famous  poem, 
'The  Raven."51 

The  remainder  of  the  year  1844  was  rilled  out  with 
the  following  list  of  literary  work  :  Review  of  Home's 
"Orion,"  "Graham's,"  for  March;  "A  Tale  of 
the  Ragged  Mountains,"  "  Godey's  Lady's  Book," 
April;  Review  in  "The  Pioneer";  "Dreamland," 
"Graham's,"  for  June;  "Mesmeric  Revelation," 
"Columbian  Magazine,"  August;  "The  Oblong 
Box,"  "Godey's,"  September;  work  as  sub-editor 
and  paragraphist  on  "  The  Evening  Mirror  ";  "  Thou 
Art  the  Man,"  "  Godey's,"  November;  "  The  Lit 
erary  Life  of  Thingum-Bob,  Esq.,  late  editor  of  the 
'Goosetherumfoodle,' '  "Southern  Literary  Mes 
senger,"  December;  "Marginalia,"  I.  and  II., 
"Democratic  Review,"  November  and  December. 
"The  Premature  Burial,"  "The  Purloined  Let 
ter,"  "The  System  of  Doctors  Tar  and  Fether " 
(as  he  gives  the  title  in  a  letter  to  Lowell,  May  28, 
1844),  were  in  the  hands  of  different  editors,  but  as 
yet  unpublished. 

One  of  his  least  amiable  biographers,  commenting 
on  Poe's  industry,  writes:  — 

"The  list  of  the  tales  still  in  the  hands  of  editors 
which  this  letter  gives,  brings  out  strongly  one  source 

i  From  Baltimore  Sun  December  30,  iqoo. 


of  the  discouragement  under  which  Poe  had  to  bear 
up.  He  had  been  for  ten  years  a  writer  of  untiring 
industry,  and  in  that  time  had  produced  an  amount  of 
work  large  in  quantity  and  excellent  in  quality,  much 
of  it  belonging  in  the  very  highest  rank  of  imaginative 
prose  ;  but  his  books  had  never  sold,  and  the  income 
from  his  tales  and  other  papers  in  the  magazines  had 
never  sufficed  to  keep  the  wolf  from  the  door  unless  he 
eked  out  his  resources  by  editing." 

The  continual  necessity  for  hackwork  of  this  descrip 
tion  injured  the  poet's  spontaneity  beyond  measure  and 
left  him  fagged,  exhausted,  enervated,  in  the  humor  to 
lapse  into  that  fearful  addiction  to  morphine  so  vividly 
pictured  in  "A  Tale  of  the  Ragged  Mountains." 
Thinking  he  had  found  a  congenial  spirit  in  Lowell,  he 
wrote  to  him  at  this  time  :  "I  have  been  too  deeply 
conscious  of  the  mutability  and  evanescence  of  temporal 
things  to  give  any  continuous  effort  to  anything  —  to 
be  consistent  in  anything.  My  life  has  been  whim  — 
impulse — passion — a  longing  for  solitude  —  a  scorn  of 
all  things  present,  in  an  earnest  desire  for  the  future. 

{f  Now  profoundly  excited  by  music,  and  by  some 
poems,  —  those  of  Tennyson  especially  —  whom,  with 
Keats,  Shelley,  Coleridge  (occasionally),  and  a  few 
others  of  like  thought  and  expression,  I  regard  as 
the  sole  poets.  Music  is  the  perfection  of  the  soul,  or 
idea,  of  poetry.  The  vagueness  of  exaltation  aroused 
by  a  sweet  air  (which  should  be  strictly  indefinite  and 
never  too  strongly  suggestive)  is  precisely  what  we 
should  aim  at  in  poetry.  Affectation,  within  bounds, 
is  thus  no  blemish." 

The  "whim,  —  the  impulse,  —  the  passion," 
rode  and  ruled  him  to  the  last  and  perhaps  con- 


stituted  the  temperamental  factor  that  coined  itself 
into  his  theory  that  all  phases  of  literary  art,  to  be 
effective,  must  be  brief,  intense,  concentrated,  im 
pressionistic,  just  as  impulse,  whim,  and  passion 
are  shortlived  and  ephemeral.  His  best  poems,  — 
of  the  ante-"  Raven  "  period, — he  declared  to  be 
"  hurried  and  unconsidered  "  —  "  The  Sleeper," 
"The  Conqueror  Worm,' '"The  Haunted  Palace," 
"Lenore,"  "Dreamland,"  "The  Coliseum,"  in 
the  order  named  ;  and  in  similar  fashion  he  names  to 
Lowell  as  his  best  tales,  "Ligeia,"  "The  Gold- 
Bug,"  "The  Murders  in  the  Rue  Morgue,"  "The 
Fall  of  the  House  of  Usher,"  "The  Tell-Tale 
Heart,"  "The  Black  Cat,"  "William  Wilson," 
and  "A  Descent  into  the  Maelstrom,"  also  in  the  order 
named,  adding  that  perhaps  "  The  Purloined  Let 
ter,"  forthcoming,  was  the  best  of  his  tales  of 

Poe's  correspondence  with  Lowell  ranged  up  and 
down  the  whole  gamut  of  greeting,  from  "  My  Dear 
Friend,"  "My  Dear  Mr.  Lowell,"  to  the  form 
which  the  friendship  took  —  under  the  cooling  influ 
ence  of  Charles  F.  Briggs's  criticisms  and  insinuations 
—  in  Poe's  review  of  Lowell's  "Fable  for  Critics." 
Later  on,  in  the  "Messenger  "  for  February,  1849, 
there  were  indications  that  this  promising  friendship 
had  frozen  to  an  icicle.  "  To  show  the  general  man 
ner  of  the  Fable,"  he  writes,  "  we  quote  a  portion  of 
what  he  says  about  Mr.  Poe  :  — 

"  'There  comes  Poe  with  his  Raven,  like  Barnaby  Rudge, 
Three-fifths  of  him  genius  and  two-fifths  sheer  fudge, 
Who  talks  like  a  book  of  iambs  and  pentameters, 
In  a  way  to  make  all  men  of  common  sense  damn  metres  j 
Who  has  written  some  things  quite  the  best  of  their  kind, 
But  the  heart  somehow  seems  all  squeezed  out  by  the  mind.'  " 

202  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

In  return  for  this  Poe  denounced  Lowell  as  "one 
of  the  most  rabid  of  the  Abolition  fanatics  ;  and  no 
Southerner,  who  does  not  wish  to  be  insulted,  and  at 
the  same  time  revolted  by  a  bigotry  the  most  obsti 
nately  blind  and  deaf,  should  ever  touch  a  volume  by 
this  author.  His  fanaticism  about  slavery  is  a  mere 
local  outbreak  of  the  same  innate  wrong-headedness 
which,  if  he  owned  slaves,  would  manifest  itself  in 
atrocious  ill-treatment  of  them,  with  murder  of  any 
abolitionist  who  should  endeavor  to  set  them  free.  A 
fanatic  of  Mr.  Lowell's  species  is  simply  a  fanatic  for 
the  sake  of  fanaticism,  and  must  be  a  fanatic  in  what 
ever  circumstances  you  place  him.  .  .  .  All  whom 
he  praises  are  Bostonians.  Other  writers  are  bar 
barians,  and  satirized  accordingly,  if  mentioned 
at  all." 

Just  about  this  time  (1844-45)  Lowell  was  en 
gaged  on  the  paper  "Our  Contributors.  —  No.  XVII: 
Edgar  Allan  Poe.  With  a  Portrait.  By  James  Rus 
sell  Lowell/'  which  appeared  in  ''Graham's"  for 
February,  1845,  and  which  delighted  Poe  with  its 
laudation.  Lowell  was  ten  years  younger  than  Poe, 
and  was  at  the  time  a  young  man  who  viewed  his 
elder  with  a  reverence  and  appreciation  almost  amount 
ing  to  awe.  "Mr.  Poe,"  he  remarks,  "is  at  once 
the  most  discriminating,  philosophical,  and  fearless 
critic  upon  imaginative  works  who  has  written  in 
America.  It  may  be  that  we  should  qualify  our  re 
mark  a  little,  and  say  that  he  might  be,  rather  than 
that  he  always  //,  for  he  seems  sometimes  to  mistake 
his  phial  of  prussic  acid  for  his  inkstand.  If  we  do 
not  always  agree  with  him  in  his  premises,  we  are, 
at  least,  satisfied  that  his  deductions  are  logical,  and 


that  we  are  reading  the  thoughts  of  a  man  who  thinks 
for  himself,  and  says  what  he  thinks,  and  knows 
well  what  he  is  talking  about.  His  analytic  power 
would  furnish  forth  bravely  some  score  of  ordinary 
critics.  .  .  .  Had  Mr.  Poe  had  the  control  of  a 
magazine  of  his  own,  in  which  to  display  his  critical 
abilities,  he  would  have  been  as  autocratic,  ere  this,  in 
America,  as  Professor  Wilson  has  been  in  England  ; 
and  his  criticisms,  we  are  sure,  would  have  been  far 
more  profound  and  philosophical  than  those  of  the 
Scotsman.  As  it  is,  he  has  squared  out  blocks  enough 
to  build  an  enduring  pyramid,  but  has  left  them  lying 
carelessly  and  unclaimed  in  many  different  quarries." 

Mr.  Lowell  then  continued  in  a  penetrating  com 
parison  of  Poe's  precocity  with  that  of  Shakspere, 
Milton,  Pope,  Collins,  Chatterton,  Kirke  White, 
Burns,  Byron,  Wordsworth,  Southey,  Shelley,  and 
Cowley,  ending  with,  "We  call  them  [the  poems] 
the  most  remarkable  boyish  poems  that  we  have  ever 
read.  We  know  of  none  that  can  compare  with 
them  for  maturity  of  purpose,  and  a  nice  under 
standing  of  the  effects  of  language  and  metre.  .  .  . 
Mr.  Poe  has  that  indescribable  something  which  men 
have  agreed  to  call  genius. ' ' 

Alas,  that  this  honey  should  turn  into  gall,  and  that 
the  two  quondam  friends  should  live  to  bespatter  each 
other's  reputation  ! 

Professor  Woodberry's  version  of  the  rupture  is  as 
follows  :  — 

"  Not  long  before,"  June  29,  1845,  "being  on 
his  way  from  Philadelphia  back  to  Cambridge,  Lowell 
called  on  Poe  ;  but  as,  in  Mrs.  Clemm's  words  to  the 
former,  '  he  was  not  himself  that  day,'  none  of  those 
golden  hopes,  indulged  in  by  Poe,  and  at  an  earlier 

204  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

day  by  Briggs  also,  were  realized  from  this  personal 
meeting.  The  interview,  however,  prepared  Lowell 
for  the  following  passage  in  Briggs' s  next  letter,  in 
explanation  of  what  seemed  a  sudden  demise  of  the 
[Broadway]  'Journal.'  ' '  Then  follows  an  account  of 
a  "  drunken  spree,"  in  which  Poe  had  indulged  : 

" '  Foe's  mother-in-law  told  me  that  he  was  quite 
tipsy  the  day  that  you  called  upon  him,  and  that  he 
acted  very  strangely ;  but  I  perceived  nothing  of  it 
when  I  saw  him  in  the  morning.  He  was  to  have  de 
livered  a  poem  before  the  societies  of  the  New  York 
University  a  few  weeks  since,  but  drunkenness  pre 
vented  him.  I  believe  he  had  not  drank  \_sii\  any 
thing  for  more  than  eighteen  months  until  within  the 
past  three  months,  but  in  this  time  he  has  been  very 
frequently  carried  home  in  a  wretched  condition.'  ' 

That  Mrs.  Clemm,  Poe's  guardian  angel,  the  one 
woman  in  all  the  world  most  anxious  to  shield  her 
nephew  and  son-in-law's  reputation  from  the  cruel 
criticism  of  strangers,  should  confess  to  the  stranger 
Briggs  that  he  was  "  tipsy  "  is  altogether  incredible 
and  rests  only  on  the  unauthenticated  testimony  of  a 
man  who  was  now  Poe's  professed  enemy. 

Mrs.  Clemm,  all  her  life  long,  showed  herself  the 
truest  friend  of  her  daughter's  husband ;  and  why 
Willis's  style  in  his  famous  characterization  of  her  in 
the  "  Home  Journal  "  for  October  13,  1849,  snou^ 
be  stigmatized  —  except  by  a  determined  enemy  —  as 
"  falsetto,"  we  are  at  a  loss  to  conceive.  This  char 
acterization  ran  as  follows  :  — 

"  Our  first  knowledge  of  Mr.  Poe's  removal  to  this 
city  was  by  a  call  which  we  received  from  a  lady  who 
introduced  herself  to  us  as  the  mother  of  his  wife.  She 
was  in  search  of  employment  for  him,  and  she  excused 


her   errand   by   mentioning  that   he  was   ill,  that  her 
daughter  was  a  confirmed  invalid,  and  that  their  cir 
cumstances  were  such  as  compelled  her  taking  it  upon 
herself.     The  countenance  of  this  lady,  made  beautiful 
and  saintly  with  an  evidently  complete  giving  up  of 
her   life   to   privation    and    sorrowful    tenderness,    her 
gentle  and  mournful  voice   urging   its  plea,  her  long- 
forgotten  but  habitually  and  unconsciously  refined  man 
ners,  and  her  appealing  and    yet  appreciative   mention 
of  the  claims  and  abilities  of  her  son,  disclosed  at  once 
the  presence   of  one  of  those   angels  upon   earth    that 
women  in  adversity  can  be.      It  was  a  hard   fate   that 
she  was  watching  over.    Mr.  Poe  wrote  with  fastidious 
difficulty,  and  in  a  style  too  much  above  the  popular 
level  to  be  well   paid.      He  was  always   in   pecuniary 
difficulty,  and,  with  his  sick  wife,  frequently  in  want 
of  the  merest  necessaries  of  life.     Winter  after  winter, 
for  years,  the  most  touching  sight  to  us,  in  this  whole 
city,  has  been  that  tireless  minister  to  genius,  thinly 
and  insufficiently  clad,  going  from  office  to  office  with 
a  poem,  or  an  article  on  some  literary  subject,  to  sell 
—  sometimes   simply  pleading  in  a  broken  voice  that 
he  was  ill,  and  begging  for  him,  —  mentioning  nothing 
but    that     '  he     was     ill,'    whatever    might    be    the 
reason  for  his  writing  nothing  —  and   never,  amid   all 
her  tears  and  recitals  of  distress,  suffering  one  syllable 
to  escape  her  lips  that  could  convey  a  doubt  of  him,  or 
a  complaint ,  or  a  lessening  of  pride  in  his  genius  and 
good  intentions  [italics  ours].    Her  daughter  died  a  year 
and  a  half  since,   but  she  did  not   desert   him.      She 
continued  his  ministering  angel  —  living    with   him  — 
caring  for  him  —  guarding  him  against  exposure,  and, 
when  he  was  carried  away  by  temptation,  amid  grief 
and  the  loneliness  of  feelings  unreplied  to,  and  awoke 


from  his  self-abandonment  prostrated  in  destitution  and 
suffering,  begging  for  him  still.  If  woman's  devotion, 
born  with  a  first  love,  and  fed  with  human  passion, 
hallow  its  object,  as  it  is  allowed  to  do,  what  does  not 
a  devotion  like  this  —  pure,  disinterested,  and  holy  as 
the  watch  of  an  invisible  spirit  —  say  for  him  who 
inspired  it  ?  " 

Of  this  venerated  and  excellent  woman  the  follow 
ing  is  a  little  sketch  furnished  us  by  her  relative  Miss 
Amelia  F.  Poe,  to  whom  this  edition  is  also  indebted 
for  likenesses  of  Virginia  and  Edgar. 

"  Maria  Poe  was  a  daughter  of  Gen.  David  Poe  and 
Elizabeth  Cairnes  Poe.  She  was  born  in  Baltimore, 
Maryland,  March  I  zth,  1 790,  and  was  married  at 
St.  Paul's  Church,  Baltimore,  Maryland,  July  13, 
1817,  by  the  Rev.  William  Wyatt,  to  William 
Clemm,  Jr.,  son  of  Col.  William  and  Catherine 
Clemm,  of  Mount  Prospect,  now  (1901)  Walbrook, 
a  suburb  of  Baltimore.  They  had  children,  Henry 
and  Maria,  who  died  young.  Virginia,  afterwards 
wife  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe,  born  August  13,*  1822, 
died  at  Fordham,  New  York,  January  30,  1847.  Her 
father,  William  Clemm,  Jr.,  died  in  Baltimore,  Febru 
ary  8th,  1826,  and  was  buried  in  St.  Paul's  graveyard, 
Baltimore.  His  widow,  Maria  Poe  Clemm,  died  in 
Baltimore,  February  16,  1871.  She  was  first  buried 
in  her  father's  lot,  No.  27,  Westminster  Churchyard, 
Baltimore,  and  her  remains  were  transferred  at  the 
same  time  as  those  of  her  nephew  and  son-in-law, 
Edgar  Allan  Poe,  November  17,  1875,  and  they  both 
lie  now  under  the  Poe  Monument." 

1  St.  Paul's  records  say  August  22. 


From  daguerreotype  taken  in  Lowell  in  1849. 


Poe's  first  engagement  in  New  York  seems  to  have 
been  with  Willis,  as  "  mechanical  paragraphist  "  and 
sub-editor  of  the  latter' s  "  Evening  Mirror."  Of 
Willis  he  had  a  very  kindly  opinion,  evinced  in  the 
following  extract  from  <f  The  Literati  "  : 

"  As  a  writer  of*  sketches,'  properly  so  called,  Mr. 
Willis  is  unequalled.  Sketches,  especially  of  society, 
are  his  for te,  and  they  are  so  for  no  other  reason  than 
that  they  afford  him  the  best  opportunity  of  introduc 
ing  the  personal  Willis ;  or,  more  distinctly,  because 
this  species  of  composition  is  most  susceptible  of  im 
pression  from  his  personal  character.  The  degage 
tone  of  this  kind  of  writing,  too,  best  admits  and  en 
courages  that  kind  of  fancy  which  Mr.  Willis  possesses 
in  the  most  extraordinary  degree  ;  it  is  in  fancy  that 
he  reigns  supreme ;  this,  more  than  any  one  other 
quality,  and,  indeed,  more  than  all  his  other  literary 
qualities  combined,  has  made  him  what  he  is.  It  is 
this  which  gives  him  the  originality,  the  freshness,  the 
point,  the  piquancy,  which  appear  to  be  the  immediate, 
but  which  are,  in  fact,  the  mediate  sources  of  his  popu 
larity.  .  .  .  Mr.  Willis's  career  has  naturally  made 
him  enemies  among  the  envious  host  of  dunces  whom 
he  has  outstripped  in  the  race  for  fame ;  and  these  his 
personal  manner  (a  little  tinctured  with  reserve, 
brusquerie  or  even  haughtiness)  is  by  no  means 
adapted  to  conciliate.  He  has  innumerable  warm 
friends,  however,  and  is  himself  a  warm  friend.  He 
is  impulsive,  generous,  bold,  impetuous,  vacillating, 
irregularly  energetic  —  apt  to  be  hurried  into  error, 
but  incapable  of  deliberate  wrong." 

Poe's  association  with  Willis  on  ''The  Evening 
Mirror"  left  a  most  agreeable  impression  on  the  mind 
and  memory  of  the  latter.  In  a  letter  dated  Idlewild, 
October  17,  1859,  Willis  writes: 

208  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

"  In  our  harassing  and  exhausting  days  of  '  daily  * 
editorship,  Poe,  for  a  long  time,  was  our  assistant  — 
the  constant  and  industrious  occupant  of  a  desk  in  our 
office.  .  .  .  Poe  came  to  us  quite  incidentally,  neither 
of  us  having  been  personally  acquainted  with  him  till 
that  time  ;  and  his  position  towards  us,  and  connec 
tion  with  us,  of  course  unaffected  by  claims  of  previous 
friendship,  were  a  fair  average  of  his  general  inter 
course  and  impressions.  As  he  was  a  man  who  never 
smiled,  and  never  said  a  propitiatory  or  deprecating 
word,  we  were  not  likely  to  have  been  seized  with 
any  sudden  partiality  or  wayward  caprice  in  his  favor. 
/  should  preface  my  avowal  of  an  almost  reverence  for 
the  man,  as  I  knew  him,  by  reminding  the  reader  of 
the  strange  double,  common  to  the  presence  and  mag 
netism  of  a  man  of  genius,  the  mysterious  electricity  of 

"  tt  was  rather  a  step  downward,  after  being  the 
chief  editor  of  several  monthlies,  as  Poe  had  been,  to 
come  into  the  office  of  a  daily  journal  as  a  mechanical 
paragraphist.  It  was  his  business  to  sit  at  a  desk,  in  a 
corner  of  the  editorial  room,  ready  to  be  called  upon 
for  any  of  the  miscellaneous  work  of  the  day  ;  yet 
you  remember  how  absolutely  and  how  goodhumoredly 
ready  he  was  for  any  suggestion  ;  how  punctually  and 
industriously  reliable  in  the  following  out  of  the  wish 
once  expressed  ;  how  cheerful  and  present-minded 
his  work  when  he  might  excusably  have  been  so  listless 
and  abstracted.  We  loved  the  man  for  the  entireness 
of  fidelity  with  which  he  served  us.  When  he  left  us, 
we  were  very  reluctant  to  part  with  him." 
And  he  goes  on : 

"  Poe  was  employed  by  us,   for  several  months,  as 
critic  and  sub-editor.       This    was   our   first   personal 


acquaintance  with  him.  .  .  .  With  the  highest  admira 
tion  for  his  genius,  and  a  willingness  to  let  it  atone  for 
more  than  ordinary  irregularity,  we  were  led  by  com 
mon  report  to  expect  a  very  capricious  attention  to  his 
duties,  and,  occasionally,  a  scene  of  violence  and  difficulty. 
Time  went  on,  however,  and  he  was  invariably  punctual 
and  industrious.  With  his  pale,  beautiful,  and  intel 
lectual  face,  as  a  reminder  of  what  genius  was  in  him,  it 
was  impossible,  of  course,  not  to  treat  him  always  with 
deferential  courtesy,  and,  to  our  occasional  request  that 
he  would  not  probe  too  deep  in  a  criticism,  or  that  he 
would  erase  a  passage  coloured  too  highly  with  his  resent 
ments  against  society  and  mankind,  he  readily  and 
courteously  assented  —  far  more  yielding  than  most 
men,  we  thought,  on  points  so  excusably  sensitive. 
With  a  prospect  of  taking  the  lead  in  another  periodical, 
he,  at  last,  voluntarily  gave  up  his  employment  with  us, 
and,  through  all  this  considerable  period,  we  had  seen  but 
one  presentment  of  the  man  —  a  quiet,  patient,  indus 
trious,  and  most  gentlemanly  person,  commanding  the 
utmost  respect  and  good  feeling  by  his  unvarying  deport 
ment  and  ability."  l 

The  year  1845  was  the  "banner"  year  of  Poe's 
literary  life  :  never  afterwards  —  never  before  —  did  he 
attain  such  maturity,  such  variety,  or  such  ripeness  in 
his  intellectual  work.  The  short-lived  ff  Broadway 
Journal ' '  enabled  him  to  revise  and  reprint,  generally 
in  more  finished  form,  nearly  everything  that  he  had 
yet  produced.  He  has  been  bitterly  reproached  and 
sneered  at  for  this  by  persons  who  ought  to  know  better, 
whose  own  search  for  //^perfection  is  directly  the 
reverse  of  Poe's  continual  search  for  perfection.  This 

1  Ingram,  I.,  pp.  260-262. 
VOL.  I. —  14 

210  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

was  the  only  opportunity  he  ever  had  —  an  opportunity 
for  which  he  perpetually  prayed  —  of  running  a  journal, 
however  shortlived,  for  himself,  on  independent  lines, 
and,  after  the  paper  passed  into  his  hands,  he  availed 
himself  of  it  in  a  way  for  which  posterity  can  be  but 
grateful,  for  the  "  Broadway  Journal  "  form  is,  first 
and  last,  with  '«  The  Raven  and  Other  Poems"  of 
1845,  and  the  ''Eureka"  of  1848,  the  final  and  un 
changeable  form  in  which,  substantially,  the  Poe  texts 
have  been  left  to  us. 

In  his  sketch  of  Charles  F.  Briggs,  in  "  The  Liter 
ati,"  Poe  writes  : 

"  In  connection  with  Mr.  John  Bisco,  he  was  the 
originator  of  the  late  '  Broadway  Journal '  —  my  edi 
torial  connection  with  that  work  not  having  commenced 
until  the  sixth  or  seventh  *  number,  although  I  wrote 
for  it  occasionally  from  the  first.  .  .  .  Mr.  Briggs 
is  better  known  as  '  Harry  Franco,'  a  nom  de  plume 
assumed  since  the  publication,  in  the  ' Knickerbocker 
Magazine, '  of  his  series  of  papers  called  'Adventures 
of  Harry  Franco.'  .  .  .  Mr.  Briggs's  manner,  how 
ever,  is  an  obvious  imitation  of  Smollett ;  and,  as  usual 
with  all  imitations,  produces  an  unfavorable  impression 
upon  those  conversant  with  the  original.  .  .  .  He  is 
from  Cape  Cod  or  Nantucket,  .  .  .  and  is  the  centre 
of  a  little  circle  of  rather  intellectual  people,  of  which 
the  Kirklands,  Lowell,  and  some  other  notabilities  are 
honorary  members." 

The  reference  to  Lowell  is  significant,  as  it  is  to 
him  that  after  a  fortissimo  of  laudation  in  which  super- 

1  Mr.  Ingram,  I.,  270,  writes  :  "  'It  was  not  until  Nov.  10 
that  I  had  anything  to  do  with  this  journal  as  editor,'  is  Poe's  en 
dorsement  upon  our  copy,  but  from  its  commencement  he  wrote 
for  it." 


latives  seem  inadequate,  Briggs  begins,  trickle  trickle, 
drop  by  drop  —  piano,  — piano,  — pianissimo  —  then 
with  a  torrential  fury,  to  swell  into  a  tumult  of  abuse 
and  denunciation  of  his  editorial  assistant. 

The  laudation  began  with  :  "I  like  Poe  exceed 
ingly  well ;  Mr.  Griswold  has  told  me  shocking  bad 
stories  about  him,  which  his  whole  demeanor  contra 
dicts.  ...  I  have  always  strangely  misunderstood  Poe, 
from  thinking  him  one  of  the  Graham  and  Godey 
species,  but  I  find  him  as  different  as  possible.  I  think 
that  you  [Lowell]  will  like  him  well  when  you  come 
to  know  him  personally."  l 

"The  rift  within  the  lute"  began  with  the  un 
savory  "Longfellow  War,"  in  which  Poe  accused 
the  Maine  poet  of  plagiarism  :  "  Poe  has  left  the 
'  Mirror.'  Willis  was  too  Willisy  for  him.  Unfortu 
nately  for  him  (Poe)  he  has  mounted  a  very  ticklish 
hobby  just  now,  Plagiarism,  which  he  is  bent  on 
riding  to  death,  and  I  think  the  better  way  is  to  let 
him  run  down  as  soon  as  possible  by  giving  him  no 
check.  Wiley  and  Putnam  are  going  to  publish  a  new 
edition  of  his  tales  and  sketches.  Everybody  has  been 
raven-mad  about  his  last  poem,  and  his  lecture,  which 
W.  Story  went  with  me  to  hear,  has  gained  him  a 
dozen  or  two  of  waspish  foes  who  will  do  him  more 
good  than  harm." 

Then,  vacillatingly,  in  a  letter  a  few  days  later, 
"  Poe  has,  indeed,  a  very  high  admiration  for  Long 
fellow,  and  so  he  will  say  before  he  is  done  [with  the 
"  Outis  "-Longfellow  controversy].  For  my  own 
part  I  did  not  use  to  think  well  of  Poe  [compare  this 
with  our  first  extract],  but  my  love  for  you  and  im 
plicit  confidence  in  your  judgment,  led  me  to  abandon 

1  Woodberry,  Life,  p.  226. 

212  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

all  my  prejudices  against  him  when  I  read  your  ac 
count  of  him  [in  te  Graham's"  for  February].  The 
Rev.  Mr.  Griswold,  of  Philadelphia,  told  me  some 
abominable  lies  about  him,  but  a  personal  acquaintance 
with  him  has  induced  me  to  think  highly  of  him.  Per 
haps  some  Philadelphian  has  been  whispering  foul 
things  in  your  ear  about  him.  Doubtless  his  sharp 
manner  has  made  him  many  enemies.  But  you  will 
think  better  of  him  when  you  meet  him." 

Later,  "  I  shall  haul  down  Poe's  name,  he  has 
latterly  got  into  his  old  habits  and  I  fear  will  injure 
himself  irretrievably.  I  was  taken  at  first  with  a  certain 
appearance  of  independence  and  learning  in  his  criti 
cisms,  but  they  are  so  verbal,  and  so  purely  selfish  that 
I  can  no  longer  have  any  sympathy  with  him." 

This  is  followed  by  the  charges  of  drunkenness,  the 
temporary  suspension  of  the  "Journal,"  the  exclu 
sion  of  Briggs  from  its  management  when  it  was  re 
sumed,  and  a  rigmarole  of  denunciation  of  Poe  by 
Briggs  as  a  man  utterly  destitute  of  "high  motive" 
—  because,  apparently,  Briggs  could  not  make  as  much 
money  out  of  Poe's  brains  as  he  had  hoped  and  did 
not  have  brains  enough  himself  to  make  a  success. 

At  all  events,  Poe  succeeded  Briggs  as  editor  and 
Bisco  went  on  with  the  publishing,  allowing  Poe 
until  October  a  one-third  interest  in  the  publication. 
October  24  he  became  sole  proprietor  of  the  "Jour 
nal,"  having  bought  out  Bisco's  interest  for  $50. 


From  engraving  by  Capewell  and  Kimtnel. 


,ir    about   him . 
!e  him  many 

old   habits  and  I 
as  taken  at  fm 

;ice  and  learning  in  his  criti- 
bal,  and  so  purely  selfish  that 
'th  him." 

,  the 

•urnal/'    the   exclu- 
t  was  re- 

' '  Jour- 





MEANWHILE,  it  is  necessary  to  retrace  our  steps  and 
recall  a  date  the  most  memorable  in  Poe's  history,  the 
zgth  of  January,  1845.  Hitherto  he  had  been  a  local, 
an  American,  writer  :  henceforth  whatever  he  wrote 
was  to  be  the  world's  possession.  The  medium  of 
this  marvellous  expansion  was  "The  Raven,"  first 
published  in  Willis's  "Evening  Mirror"  from  ad 
vanced  sheets  of  the  "American  Whig  Review." 

It  was   introduced  by  Willis  in  the  following  note  : 

"We  are  permitted  to  copy  (in  advance  of  publica 
tion),  from  the  second  number  of  the  'American  Re 
view,'  the  following  remarkable  poem  by  Edgar  Poe. 
In  our  opinion,  it  is  the  most  effective  single  example 
of  '  fugitive  poetry  '  ever  published  in  this  country  ; 
and  unsurpassed  in  English  poetry  for  subtle  concep 
tion,  masterly  ingenuity  of  versification,  and  consistent 
sustaining  of  imaginative  lift.  ...  It  is  one  of  those 
'  dainties  bred  in  a  book,'  which  we  feed  on.  It  will 
stick  to  the  memory  of  everybody  who  reads  it." 

A  few  days  later  "The  Raven"  appeared  in  the 
February  number  of  this  magazine  and  gave  both  it  and 
"The  Evening  Mirror  "  a  wonderful  "send  off." 
The  poem  floated  over  the  Atlantic  —  as  the  three 
Parisian  romances  of  "  The  Murders  in  the  Rue 
Morgue,"  "The  Mystery  of  Marie  Roget,"  and 

214  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

"The  Purloined  Letter"  had  done  —  and  called 
forth  the  enthusiastic  admiration  of  Miss  Barrett  and 
Robert  Browning.  One  "  Quarles "  commented 
pseudonymously  on  the  poem  in  "  The  Review,"  but 
the  mystification  was  soon  apparent,  and  the  authorship 
attributed  to  the  proper  source. 

"  Quarles  ' '  had  commented  as  follows  —  and 
Quarles  is  a  thinly-veiled  Poe  :  —  "The  following 
lines  from  a  correspondent,  besides  the  deep  quaint 
strain  of  the  sentiment,  and  the  curious  introduction  of 
some  ludicrous  touches  amidst  the  serious  and  impres 
sive,  as  was  doubtless  intended  by  the  author,  —  ap 
pear  to  us  one  of  the  most  felicitous  specimens  of 
unique  rhyming  which  has  for  some  time  met  our  eye. 
The  resources  of  English  rhythm  for  varieties  of  mel 
ody,  measure,  and  sound,  producing  corresponding 
diversities  of  effect,  have  been  thoroughly  studied, 
much  more  perceived,  by  very  few  poets  in  the  lan 
guage.  While  the  classic  tongues,  especially  the  Greek, 
possess,  by  power  of  accent,  several  advantages  for 
versification  over  our  own,  chiefly  through  greater 
abundance  of  spondaic  feet,  we  have  other  and  very 
great  advantages  of  sound  by  the  modern  usage  of 
rhyme.  Alliteration  is  nearly  the  only  effect  of  that 
kind  which  the  ancients  had  in  common  with  us.  It 
will  be  seen  that  much  of  the  melody  of  '  The  Raven  ' 
arises  from  alliteration,  and  the  studious  use  of  similar 
sounds  in  unusual  places.  In  regard  to  its  measure,  it 
may  be  noted  that,  if  all  the  verses  were  like  the  second, 
they  might  properly  be  placed  merely  in  short  lines, 
producing  a  not  uncommon  form  ;  but  the  presence  in 
all  the  others  of  one  line  —  mostly  the  second  in  the 
verse  —  which  flows  continuously  with  only  an  aspir 
ate  pause  in  the  middle, — like  that  before  the  short  line 



EDGAR   A.    POE. 




in  the  Sapphic  Adonic,  while  the  fifth  has  at  the  mid 
dle  pause  no  similarity  of  sound  with  any  part  beside, 
gives  the  versification  an  entirely  different  effect.  We 
could  wish  the  capacities  of  our  noble  language,  in 
prosody,  were  better  understood." 

Technically,  Poe  afterwards,  in  the  (t  Outis " 
controversy,  explained  the  verse  of  "  The  Raven  " 
as  "trochaic  octarneter  acatalectic,  alternating  with 
heptameter  catalectic  repeated  in  the  refrain  of  the 
fifth  verse,  and  terminating  with  tetrameter  catalectic.'* 

In  "The  Philosophy  of  Composition  "  he  lifts  the 
lid  from  the  cauldron  where  glowed  the  constituent  ele 
ments  of  his  wonderful  poem-philtre  and  reveals  to  us  its 
mechanism  :  the  poem  was  to  be  about  one  hundred 
lines  long,  made  up  of  equal  proportions  of  Beauty 
and  Quaintness  intermingled  with  Melancholy.  A 
strange  and  thrilling  refrain  was  to  impress  this  combi 
nation  on  the  reader  by  means  of  long  sonorous  o's  and 
r's  swelling  on  the  ear  and  the  memory  in  anthemlike 
ululations,  reverberations  of  waves  on  the  shore,  clothed, 
the  whole,  in  rhythms  whose  luxuriance  of  allitera 
tions,  susurrus  of  honeyed  vowels  and  liquids  and  rise 
and  fall  of  Eolian  cadences  would  attune  the  very  soul 
to  melody  and  make  the  poem  as  sweet  as  the  dissolv 
ing  notes  of  Apollo's  lute.  The  refrain  was  to  be 
uttered  by  a  Raven  :  "I  had  now  gone  so  far  as  the 
conception  of  a  Raven  — the  bird  of  ill-omen — monot 
onously  repeating  the  one  word,  '  Nevermore,'  at  the 
conclusion  of  each  stanza,  in  a  poem  of  melancholy 
tone,  and  in  length  about  one  hundred  lines.  Now, 
never  losing  sight  of  the  object  supremeness  or  perfec 
tion,  at  all  points,  I  asked  myself —  '  Of  all  melan 
choly  topics,  what,  according  to  the  universal 
understanding  of  mankind,  is  the  most  melancholy  ? ' 


Death  —  was  the  obvious  reply.  'And  when/ I 
said,  '  is  this  most  melancholy  of  topics  most  poeti 
cal  ? '  From  what  I  have  already  explained  at  some 
length,  the  answer  here  also  is  obvious  —  '  When  it 
most  closely  allies  itself  to  Beauty  ;  the  death,  then,  of 
a  beautiful  woman  is,  unquestionably,  the  most  poeti 
cal  topic  in  the  world  —  and  equally  is  it  beyond  doubt 
that  the  lips  best  suited  for  such  a  topic  are  those  of  a 
bereaved  lover.* 

"  I  had  now  to  combine  the  two  ideas,  of  a  lover 
lamenting  his  deceased  mistress  and  a  Raven  continu 
ously  repeating  the  word  '  Nevermore.'  ' 

How  masterfully  this  is  done  the  most  cursory 
reading  of  the  poem  will  show  until,  as  the  poet 
says,  the  Raven  becomes  in  the  last  stanza  ft  emble 
matical  of  Mournful  and  Never-ending  Remembrance," 
embalmed  in  a  stanzaic  form  "each  of  whose  lines, 
taken  individually,  has  been  employed  before,"  but 
"what  originality  '  The  Raven  '  has  is  in  their  combi 
nation  into  stanzas  ;  nothing  even  remotely  approach 
ing  this  combination  has  ever  been  attempted.  The 
effect  of  this  originality  of  combination  is  aided  by 
other  unusual  and  some  altogether  novel  effects,  arising 
from  an  extension  of  the  application  of  the  principles 
of  rhyme  and  alliteration." 

The  lame  efforts  of  "  Outis  "  to  trace  the  quaint 
repetition,  in  the  last  two  lines  of  many  of  the  stanzas, 
to  a  palpable  imitation  of  the  manner  of  Coleridge,  in 
several  of  the  stanzas  of  "The  Ancient  Mariner," 
produced  by  running  two  lines  into  one,  thus : 

"  For  all  averred,  I  had  killed  the  bird  that   made  the  breeze  to 


*  Ah,  wretch  ! '   said  they,   *  the  bird  to  slay,  that  made  the  breeze 
to  blow  ! '  " 


remain  lame  ;  and  equally  futile  are  the  attempts  to 
trace  magic  rhythms  of  "The  Raven"  into  the  re 
cesses  of  "Lady  Geraldine's  Courtship."  Mrs. 
Browning  herself  was  familiar  with  the  American  poem 
and  never  accused  Poe  of  stealing  her  metres. 

Of  the  genesis  and  evolution  of  the  poem  until  it 
appeared  in  print  little  or  nothing  authentic  is  known. 
It  was  one  of  Poe's  surprises,  and  we  cannot  trace 
its  growth  as  we  can  that  of  "  The  Bells"  or  "  Le- 
nore,"  from  the  germ  to  the  perfect  flower.  In  print 
it  went  through  six  stages,  all  immediately  under  Poe's 
eye  —  "The  Evening  Mirror,"  "The  American 
Review,"  "The  Broadway  Journal  "  for  February 
8,  1845,  the  poet's  edition  of  1845;  the  "South 
ern  Literary  Messenger  ;  "  and  there  is  a  copy  of  the 
1 845  edition  owned  by  the  Century  Association  which 
contains  a  few  of  Poe's  MS.  notes. 

The  nearest  approximation  to  authenticity  in  the 
accounts  of  an  earlier  origin  for  "The  Raven  "  is 
that  given  by  Mr.  Rosenbach,  in  "  The  Baltimore 
American"  for  February  26,  1887:  "I  read  'The 
Raven '  long  before  it  was  published,  and  was  in 
George  R.  Graham's  office  when  the  poem  was  offered 
to  him.  Poe  said  that  his  wife  and  Mrs.  Clemm  were 
starving,  and  that  he  was  in  very  pressing  need  of 
the  money.  1  carried  him  $15  contributed  by  Mr. 
Graham,  Mr.  Godey,  Mr.  McMichael,  and  others, 
who  condemned  the  poem,  but  gave  the  money  as  a 

As  the  poem  appeared  January  29,  1845,  it  is  evi 
dent  it  must  have  been  composed  some  weeks  before, 

1  Woodberry,  Poems,  p.  157. 

21 8  EDGAR  ALLAN   POE. 

which  would  place  its  composition  somewhere  within 
the  year  1 844. 

The  following  newspaper  clipping  (newspaper  not 
named)  sent  the  writer  by  John  P.  Poe,  Esq.,  of  Bal 
timore,  the  poet's  relative,  throws  interesting  light  on 
this  obscure  subject  and  affords  a  variant  reading  for 
one  of  the  lines  in  the  famous  "  Raven  "  :  — 

"Judge  George  Shea,  formerly  of  the  Marine  Court 
of  New  York,  has  a  letter  written  to  his  father  by 
Edgar  Allan  Poe. 

"  The  letter  from  Poe  is  written  on  a  glazed  paper 
without  lines,  the  penmanship  is  clear  and  legible,  the 
ink  is  unfaded,  and  this  is  the  way  the  letter  read, 
punctuation  and  capitalization  being  followed  : 

DEAR  SHEA, —  Lest  I  should  have  made  some  mistake 
in  the  hurry  I  transcribe  the  whole  alteration.  Instead  of 
the  whole  stanza  commencing  "  Wondering  at  the  still 
ness  broken'1  &c  substituting  this  : 

Startled  at  the  stillness  broken  by  reply  so  aptly  spoken, 
"  Doubtless,"   said  I,   (t  what  it  utters  is  its  only  stock  and  store 
Caught  from  some  unhappy  master  whom  unmerciful  Disaster 
Followed  fast  and  followed  faster  till  his  songs  one  burden  bore  — 
Till  the  dirges  of  his  Hope  the  melancholy  burden  bore, 
*  Nevermore  —  oh,  Nevermore  ! '  " 

At  the  close  of  the  stanza  preceding  this,  instead  of 
"  Quoth  the  raven  Nevermore,"  substitute  "  Then  the 
bird  said  '  Nevermore/  *  Truly  yours,  POE. 

"  On  the  back  of  the  letter  is  the  address,  '  J.  Au 
gustus  Shea,  Esq.,'  and  the  words,  '  To  be  delivered 
as  soon  as  he  comes  in.' 

"John  Augustus  Shea  in  his  time  was  a  literary 
man  of  ability  and  industry.  His  son,  Judge  Shea, 
speaking  of  the  Poe  letter,  said  : 


"  'While  at  West  Point  my  father  and  Edgar  Allan 
Poe,  who  was  then  a  cadet,  were  the  closest  associates, 
and  it  is  probable  that  in  his  company  Poe  received  his 
first  poetic  impulses,  for  it  was  at  that  time  he  first 
began  writing  verses.  Poe  left  West  Point  before  the 
time  of  graduation,  and  soon  after  published  a  volume 
of  poems,  now  a  very  rare  book,  a  copy  of  which  was 
sold  in  Boston  not  long  since  for  several  hundred  dollars. 
The  friendship  between  the  two  men  continued  until 
Shea's  death.  Poe  often  consulted  with  Shea  about  the 
publication  of  his  poems.  It  was  in  this  way  that  he 
committed  to  Shea  the  publication,  anonymously,  of 
the  "Raven  "  which  made  its  first  appearance  in  the 
February  number  of  the  "American  Review,"  1845, 
under  the  nom  de  plume  of  "  Ouarles. " 

"  '  It  was  at  this  time  that  the  letter  from  Poe  to  Shea, 
given  at  the  beginning  of  this  article,  was  written  and 
left  at  Shea's  house  during  his  absence.  As  you  will 
see  it  is  without  date.  For  a  short  time  among  those 
who  knew  that  Shea  caused  the  poem  to  be  published 
he  was  regarded  as  the  author,  an  inference  not  at  all  im 
probable  to  those  who  read  his  "Address  to  the  Ocean," 
his  lines  to  "The  Mountain  Pine  of  Scotland,"  or 
"TheO'Kavanaugh."  ' 

"Judge  Shea  himself  knew  Poe  personally,  and 
in  the  forties  was  often  in  his  company.  Judge  Shea 
said  only  the  other  day  :  « Poe  was  one  of  the  best 
elocutionists  I  have  ever  heard.  It  was  my  good 
fortune  to  be  present  when  Poe  and  my  father  read 
and  recited  to  each  other.  I  remember  distinctly 
Poe's  rendering  of  "  Florence  Vane  "  and  "Annabel 
Lee,"  and  more  than  once  his  own  "Raven."  His 
reading  of  the  "  R.aven  "  left  upon  the  mind  a  very 
different  impression  from  that  which  it  inspires  in 

220  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

print.  It  was  a  weird,  rapturous  invocation  as  to  an 
actual  presence. 

"  '  Poe  was  among  the  first  of  the  authors  that  took 
to  reading  and  lecturing  as  a  professional  occupation. 
I  heard  him  in  the  society  library  in  New  York  in  March, 
1845,  on  "The  Poets  and  Principles  of  Poetry." 
But  he  was  at  his  best  in  smaller  circles  of  intimate 
friends.  He  told  me  that  he  recalled  me  in  my  early 
childhood,  but  I  have  no  recollection  of  meeting  him 
at  West  Point.  The  autograph  letter  from  him  to  my 
father  was  found  among  my  father's  papers  after  his 
death.  In  the  summer  of  1848  the  letter  was  given 
to  Miss  Adelaide  Burkle  of  Oswego,  now  the  wife  of 
Major  General  John  P.  Hatch,  formerly  commandant 
at  West  Point  and  afterward  the  distinguished  military 
commander  at  Charleston.  Mrs.  Hatch  retained  the 
letter  until  1889,  when  she  gave  it  to  my  children  as 
a  souvenir  properly  due  to  them  as  showing  the  rela 
tions  between  Poe  and  their  grandfather.  The  por 
traits  of  Poe  represent  him  with  a  moustache.  I  do 
not  recall  that  he  wore  one  when  I  saw  him.  He  had 
a  graceful  walk,  a  beautiful  olive  complexion,  was 
strikingly  handsome,  but  he  had  a  weak  chin.'  ' 

Additional  light  is  thrown  on  this  period  by  the  fol 
lowing  extract  from  a  private  letter  to  the  author  : 

"I  wrote  you  that  I  did  not  have  any  personal  ac 
quaintance  with  Mr.  Poe.  I  employed  him  to  write 
for  the  «  Messenger*  at  his  own  price,  $3  a  printed 
page.  He  sent  me  two  or  three  articles  entirely  un 
worthy  of  him,  and  the  magazine.  Still,  they  were 
published  and  paid  for. 

ff  I  have,  however,  one  pleasant  thing  of  him  to  tell 
you.  When  he  had  published  his  *  Raven '  in  the 


'American  Whig  Review/  he  was  dissatisfied  and 
wrote  me  a  very  kind  and  diplomatic  letter,  requesting 
me  to  suspend  the  well-known  rule  of  the  '  Messenger  ' 
against  republications,  to  take  out  the  middle  dividing 
line  of  its  pages  and  let  the  poem  appear  in  full,  in  the 
beautiful  typography  of  the  (  Messenger.'  I  complied 
with  his  request.  One  of  his  biographers,  speaking  of 
his  writings,  says  he  never  altered  his  final  composi 
tions  ;  that  he  neither  dotted  an  i  nor  crossed  a  t.  If 
this  were  true,  it  would  only  show  with  what  care 
Mr,  Poe  prepared  his  revised  versions  for  the  press. 
But  my  recollection  was  that  one  of  the  reasons  he  as 
signed  for  wishing  me  to  republish  '  The  Raven  '  was, 
that  he  desired  to  make  some  alterations.  Therefore 
I  collated  the  versions  of  the  '  Whig  Review  '  and  the 
'  Messenger,'  and  there  were  alterations  — not  many  ; 
but  in  my  judgment  every  one  was  an  improvement. 
"  Yours  very  truly, 

"  B.  B.  MINOR." 

Dr.  B.  B.  Minor  is  the  venerable,  still  living  editor 
of  "  The  Southern  Literary  Messenger,"  who  pur 
chased  that  magazine  and  edited  it  from  1843  to  1847. 
His  testimony  gives  witness  to  a  sixth  "  state  "  of 
"  The  Raven  "  hitherto  overlooked  by  commentators, 
and  confirms  the  statement  that  Poe  never  revised 
without  improving  :  non  tetigit  quod  non  ornavit,  an 
aphorism  which  he  himself  iterates  to  satiety. 

Poe's  theory  of  the  death  of  a  beautiful  woman 
being  the  most  poetical  of  all  themes  was  repeatedly 
exemplified  by  him  not  only  in  "The  Raven,"  but 
in  "  Annabel  Lee,"  "Lenore,"  "The  Sleeper," 
"Ulalume,"  and  "To  One  in  Paradise"  ;  a  theme 
which  haunted  him  as  did  the  themes  of  Death,  De- 

222  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

cay,  "the  worm  that  dieih  not,"  and  the  dethroned 
reason.  The  "bleak  December"  of  "The 
Raven  "  seems  a  subtle  allusion  to  the  death-month 
of  his  mother,  who  died  in  that  month  at  Richmond, 
while  "  Ulalume,"  with  its  "sere  October,"  pro 
phetically  names  his  own  death-month. 

Poe's  manner  of  reciting  "The  Raven  "  soon  at 
tracted  attention  and  he  was  frequently  called  upon 
to  repeat  it. 

"The  other  afternoon,"  writes  a  correspondent  of 
the  Louisville  "Courier-Journal"  (March  8,  1885), 
"I  asked  a  lady  who  knew  him  to  tell  me  all  about 
Poe  ;  to  recall  for  my  benefit  the  memories  of  hours 
passed  in  his  society,  and  to  allow  me  a  sight  of  her 
souvenirs.  The  favor  denied  others  was  granted  me, 
and  in  a  few  moments  we  were  sitting  where  the  wintry 
sunlight  filtered  through  the  curtains,  talking  of  him  ; 
while  close  at  hand  was  a  parcel  containing  his  letters, 
a  portrait,  and  some  'Marginalia,'  all  tied  together 
with  a  faded  blue  ribbon.  There  was  something  in 
expressibly  touching  in  her  veneration  for  his  memory  ; 
friendship  for  him  was  too  sacred  a  thing  to  parade 
before  a  curious  public.  Before  opening  the  parcel 
she  spoke  of  '  The  Raven  J  and  described  Poe's 
manner  of  rendering  that  poem  ;  he  would  turn  down 
the  lamps  till  the  room  was  almost  dark,  then  standing 
in  the  centre  of  the  apartment  he  would  recite  those 
wonderful  lines  in  the  most  melodious  of  voices ;  grad 
ually  becoming  more  and  more  enthused  with  his  new 
creation,  he  forgot  time,  spectators,  his  personal 
identity,  as  the  wild  hopes  and  repressed  longings  of 
his  heart  found  vent  in  the  impassioned  words  of  the 
poem.  To  the  listeners  came  the  sounds  of  falling 
rain  and  waving  branches;  the  Raven  flapped  his 


dusky  wings  above  the  bust  of  Pallas,  and  the  lovely 
face  of  Lenore  appeared  to  rise  before  them.  So 
marvellous  was  his  power  as  a  reader  that  the  auditors 
would  be  afraid  to  draw  breath  lest  the  enchanted 
spell  be  broken. 

"  He  was  a  distinguished-looking  man  ;  his  com 
plexion  was  very  odd,  at  times  overcast  with  an  <  in 
tellectual  pallor,'  and  again  his  cheeks  were  rosier 
than  a  child' s ;  the  eyes  were  marvellous  :  such  orbs, 
perhaps,  as  shone  in  the  head  of  the  Lady  Ligeia, 
whilst  his  mouth  wore  the  sneering  expression  visible 
in  all  portraits  of  him. 

"  He  was  noted  for  his  perfect  taste,  and  was  the 
only  person  who  could  render  his  own  poems  effec 
tively.  He  gave  lectures  and  public  and  private  read 
ings  ;  the  public  readings  were  given  in  the  ball-room 
of  the  Exchange  Hotel  [Richmond].  He  would 
allow  this  lady  to  put  some  favorite  pieces  on  the 
programme,  and  before  beginning  any  of  these  he 
would  turn  towards  her  seat  in  the  room  and  preface 
the  reading  with  a  profound  bow.  One  of  these  fa 
vorite  pieces  was  Shelley's  'A  Name  is  too  often 
Profaned.'  He  would  render  it  exquisitely,  blending 
language  with  expression,  as  the  music  with  the  words 
of  song." 

Poe  himself  preferred  "  The  Sleeper,"  one  of  his 
boyish  poems,  to  "  The  Raven." 

The  following  interesting  account  of  the  environ 
ment  within  which  "The  Raven"  was  written 
appeared  in  a  recent  New  York  {f  Mail  and  Ex 
press  "  : 

"  In  spite  of  the  oft-repeated  story  that  Edgar 
Allan  Poe  composed  his  masterpiece  <  The  Raven,' 
in  the  Poe  cottage,  at  Fordham,  the  most  indisputable 

224  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

tradition  proves  that  the  poem  was  written  while  Poe 
was  spending  the  summer  at  the  homestead  of  Patrick 
Brennan,  father  of  Deputy-Commissioner  Thos.  S. 
Brennan,  of  the  Department  of  Charities  and  Correc 
tion,"  said  General  James  R.  O'Beirne,  a  brother-in- 
law  of  the  Commissioner,  to  a  party  of  friends  a  few 
nights  ago. 

"  Edgar  Allan  Poe,"  continued  General  O'Beirne, 
"spent  the  summers  of  1843  and  1844  at  the  home 
stead  of  my  father-in-law.  I  have  frequently  heard 
the  story  from  my  wife's  lips,  who  was  about  ten 
years  old  when  she  became  acquainted  with  the  great 
poet.  In  those  days,  more  than  half  a  century  ago, 
Patrick  Brennan  owned  a  farm  of  216  acres,  extend 
ing  from  a  point  about  200  feet  west  of  Central  Park 
to  the  Hudson  River.  It  was  a  picturesque  spot,  and 
the  neighboring  territory  was  considered  a  sort  of 
summer-resort  whither  a  number  of  persons  migrated 
in  the  hot  weather."  [Near  where  the  homestead 
stood,  on  Eighty-fourth  Street  between  Amsterdam 
Avenue  and  Broadway,  there  is  at  present  building 
a  factory  which  will  bear  a  tablet  commemorative 
of  Poe's  composition  of  "The  Raven"  near  that 

"  In  the  summer  of  1843,  Poe  went  to  the  home 
of  Mr.  Brennan,  taking  with  him  his  invalid  wife, 
Virginia,  and  her  mother,  Mrs.  Clemm.  If  Poe's 
biographies,  which  paint  him  as  a  dissipated  man,  are 
true,  then  they  must  refer  to  his  younger  days,  for 
Mrs.  Brennan  invariably  denied  these  charges  when 
they  were  made  in  her  presence. 

"  During  two  years  she  knew  him  intimately  and 
never  saw  him  affected  by  liquor  or  do  ought  that 
evinced  the  wild  impetuous  nature  with  which  he  has 


been  accredited.  He  was  the  gentlest  of  husbands  and 
devoted  to  his  invalid  wife.  Frequently  when  she  was 
weaker  than  usual,  he  carried  her  tenderly  from  her 
room  to  the  dinner-table  and  satisfied  every  whim. 

"Mrs,,  Brennan  was  noted  for  her  kindheartedness 
and  sympathetic  nature,  and  once  I  heard  her  say  that 
Poe  read  '  The  Raven '  to  her  one  evening  before  he 
sent  it  to  the  '  Mirror.' 

"It  was  Poe's  custom  to  wander  away  from  the 
house  in  pleasant  weather  to  '  Mount  Tom,'  an  im 
mense  rock,  which  may  still  be  seen  in  Riverside  Park, 
where  he  would  sit  alone  for  hours,  gazing  out  upon 
the  Hudson. 

<{  Other  days  he  would  roam  through  the  surround 
ing  woods,  and,  returning  in  the  afternoon,  sit  in  the 
big  room,  as  it  used  to  be  called,  by  a  window  and 
work  unceasingly  with  pen  and  paper,  until  the  even 
ing  shadows. 

"  No  doubt  it  was  upon  such  an  evening,  when 
sitting  later  than  usual  by  the  window,  '  dreaming 
dreams  no  mortal  ever  dared  to  dream  before,'  until 
every  one  else  had  retired,  and  the  moon  hidden  her 
light  behind  a  cloud,  that  he  '  heard  the  tapping,  as  of 
some  one  gently  rapping,  rapping  at  my  chamber 
door.'  He  starts  and  listens  for  a  moment  and  then 
forces  open  the  door,  anticipating  some  midnight 
visitor  —  'but  darkness  there  and  nothing  more.'  For 
awhile  he  peers  out  into  the  darkness,  but  he  can  see 
no  one  and  returns  to  his  chair. 

"  Then  again  he  hears  'the  rapping  somewhat  louder 
than  before.'  This  time  the  sound  apparently  comes 
from  the  window  and  he  flings  open  the  shutter, 
'  when  with  many  a  flirt  and  flutter,  in  there  steps  a 
stately  raven  of  the  saintly  days  of  yore.' 
VOL.  i.  — 15 

226  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

"  Above  the  door  opening  into  the  hallway,  there 
stood  the  'pallid  bust  of  Pallas.'  It  was  a  little 
plaster  cast  and  occupied  a  shelf  nailed  to  the  door 
casing,  immediately  behind  the  bust,  and  occupying 
the  space  between  the  top  casing  and  the  ceiling;  a 
number  of  little  panes  of  smoky  glass  took  the  place 
of  the  partition. 

"  This  bust  of  Minerva  was  either  removed  or 
broken  by  one  of  the  Brennan  tenants  after  the  family 
had  moved  to  the  city,  and  no  trace  of  it  can  be 
found  at  the  present  time. 

"  Poe  was  extremely  fond  of  children,  and  Mrs. 
O'Beirne  used  to  tell  of  lying  on  the  floor  at  his  feet 
and  arranging  his  manuscript.  She  didn't  under 
stand  why  he  turned  the  written  side  toward  the  floor, 
and  she  would  reverse  it  and  arrange  the  pages 
according  to  the  number  upon  them. 

"  Mrs.  Brennan  was  never  vexed  with  Poe  except 
on  one  occasion,  when  he  scratched  his  name  on  the 
mantelpiece  in  his  room.  It  was  a  very  quaint  and 
old-fashioned  affair,  with  carved  fruit  and  vines  and 
leaves,  and  Mrs.  Brennan  always  kept  it  carefully 
painted.  On  the  day  in  question  Poe  was  leaning 
against  the  mantelpiece,  apparently  in  meditation. 
Without  thinking,  he  traced  his  name  on  the  black 
mantel,  and  when  Mrs.  Brennan  called  his  attention 
to  what  he  was  doing  he  smiled  and  asked  her 

"  It  seems  strange  that  people  will  persist  in  saying 
that  '  The  Raven  '  was  written  at  the  Poe  cottage  in 
Fordham,  while  it  is  well  known  that  the  author  did 
not  move  to  Fordham  until  1846,  and  the  poem  ap 
peared  in  the  New  York  'Mirror,'  in  January,  1845, 
and  was  copied  the  following  month  in  the  '  Review.' 


"  The  mantel  upon  which  Poe  scratched  his  name 
now  adorns  the  library  fireplace  of  Mr.  William  Hem- 
street,  at  1332  Bergen  Street,  Brooklyn,  who  bought 
it  when  the  Brennan  homestead  was  demolished,  about 
twelve  years  ago. 

"  Mrs.  Manley,  a  daughter  of  Patrick  Brennan,  has 
the  lock  from  Poe's  chamber  door.  It  is  an  old- 
fashioned  affair  and  fully  six  inches  long  and  five 
wide.  Mrs.  Manley  took  it  as  a  souvenir  when  the 
Brennan  home  was  taken  down. 

"  The- present  occupant  of  the  Poe  cottage  at  Ford- 
ham  makes  the  assertion  that  the  poem  was  composed 
at  the  latter  place,  and  exhibits  to  the  credulous  sight 
seers  the  '  very  window  '  where  Poe  wrote  his  im 
mortal  verses." 

1  The  author  is  indebted  to  Dr.  William  Hand  Browne,  of 
Baltimore,  for  this  account. 




TALES:     POEMS;     LONGFELLOW      WAR;    END    OF 

THE  year  1845  was,  of  all  Poe's  years,  perhaps  the 
fullest  of  work  :  it  was  distinguished  by  the  publica 
tion  of  "The  Raven,"  by  his  editorship  of  ''The 
Broadway  Journal,"  first  as  subordinate,  then  as  one- 
third  proprietor,  finally  as  editor  and  proprietor  ;  the 
appearance  of  the  complete  and,  in  one  sense,  final 
edition  of  his  collected  poems  ;  and  the  collection  of 
twelve  of  his  tales  selected  and  edited  (presumably) 
by  Duyckinck,  whose  name  however  nowhere  ap 
pears  in  the  rather  shabby-looking  volume.  Poe's 
best  work  had  been  repeatedly  rejected  by  the  Har 
pers  ;  Lea  and  Blanchard  of  Philadelphia  had  shrewdly 
accepted  and  published  the  two-volume  "Tales  of  the 
Grotesque  and  Arabesque"  in  1840;  and  now 
Wiley  and  Putnam  were  to  immortalize  themselves  by 
issuing  the  twelve  Tales  and  the  Poems.  The  volume 
of  Tales  was  without  preface,  extended  to  228  pages, 
and  contained  the  following  title-pages  and  contents 
(copied  from  the  original  edition)  : 

Tales  |  by  |  Edgar  A.  Poe.  |  New  York  :  |  Wiley 
and  Putnam,  161  Broadway;  1845. 

Contents.  —  The  Gold-Bug  ;  The  Black  Cat  ;  Mes 
meric  Revelation  ;  Lionizing  ;  The  Fall  of  the  House 
of  Usher ;  A  Descent  into  the  Maelstrom  ;  The 


Colloquy  of  Monos  and  Una  ;  The  Conversation  of 
Eiros  and  Charmion  ;  The  Murders  in  the  Rue 
Morgue  ;  The  Mystery  of  Marie  Roget ;  The  Pur 
loined  Letter  ;  The  Man  in  the  Crowd. 

Poe  objected  strongly  to  the  selection  because  he 
thought  it  revealed  his  ratiocinative  side  too  exclu 
sively,  to  the  detriment  of  the  romantic,  poetic, 
humorous,  and  imaginative  facets  of  his  many-sided  au 

His  own  opinion  of  his  prose  work  as  revealed  in 
the  well-known  letter  to  Lowell  (July  2,  I  844)  was 
as  follows  : 

"My  best  tales  are  '  Ligeia/ 'The  Gold-Bug/ 
the  'Murders  in  the  Rue  Morgue/  'The  Fall  of 
the  House  of  Usher,'  the  '  Tell-Tale  Heart,'  the 
'Black  Cat,'  'William  Wilson,'  and  the  'Descent 
into  the  Maelstrom  '  "  —  "  The  Gold-Bug  "  having 
attained,  shortly  after  its  publication,  a  circulation  of 
300,000  copies.  Only  five  of  these  are  contained 
in  the  Duyckinck  collection,  which  constituted  No. 
2  of  Wiley  and  Putnam's  "Library  of  American 

Early  in  the  year  Poe  had  become  entangled  in  the 
notorious  "  Longfellow  War/'  which  had  smouldered 
in  a  subterranean  way  ever  since  the  publication  of 
"The  Haunted  Palace"  in  the  "  Southern  Literary 
Messenger,"  followed  six  weeks  later  by  Longfellow's 
"  Beleaguered  City,"  and  now  broke  out  afresh  with 
renewed  fury  on  the  occasion  of  the  appearance  of 
Longfellow's  (S  Waif."  Poe  was  an  exceedingly  alert 
and  zealous  critic,  frequently,  from  his  monomania  on 
the  subject  of  plagiarism,  pouncing  on  intangible  re 
semblances  or  haunting  reminiscences  as  the  basis  of  a 
long  argument  in  favor  of  this  or  that  poet's  "  thefts." 

230  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

Just  as  his  physical  machine  was  extraordinarily  irri 
table  and  open  to  ^nfluences  inapprehensible  to  less  deli 
cate  natures,  so  his  moral  and  intellectual  constitution 
was  like  an  Eolian  cord  strung  between  window  sashes, 
vibrating  to  whispers  inaudible  to  others,  continually 
a-swing  with  unseen  excitements,  the  prey  of  stimula 
tions  which  in  some  are  called  madness,  in  others, 

"What  the  world  calls  'genius,'  "  says  he  in  "A 
Chapter  of  Suggestions,"  "  is  the  state  of  mental  dis 
ease  arising  from  the  undue  predominance  of  some  one 
of  the  faculties.  The  works  of  such  genius  are  never 
sound  in  themselves,  and,  in  especial,  always  betray 
the  general  mental  insanity.  .  .  .  That  poets  (using 
the  word  comprehensively,  as  including  artists  in  gen 
eral)  are  a  genus  irritabile,  is  well  understood  ;  but 
the  wby,  seems  not  to  be  commonly  seen.  An  artist 
is  an  artist  only  by  dint  of  his  exquisite  sense  of  Beauty 
—  a  sense  affording  him  rapturous  enjoyment,  but  at 
the  same  time  implying  or  involving,  an  equally  ex 
quisite  sense  of  Deformity,  of  disproportion.  Thus  a 
wrong  —  an  injustice  —  done  a  poet  who  is  really  a 
poet,  excites  him  to  a  degree  which,  to  ordinary  ap 
prehension,  appears  disproportionate  with  the  wrong. 
Poets  see  injustice  never  where  it  does  not  exist  —  but 
very  often  where  the  unpoetical  see  no  injustice  what 
ever.  Thus  the  poetical  irritability  has  no  reference 
to  '  temper  '  in  the  vulgar  sense,  but  merely  to  a  more 
than  usual  clear-sightedness  in  respect  to  wrong  :  — 
this  clear-sightedness  being  nothing  more  than  a  corol 
lary  from  the  vivid  perceptions  of  right  —  of  justice  — 
of  proportion  —  in  a  word,  of  TO  KO.\OV.  But  one 
thing  is  clear  —  that  the  man  who  is  not  'irritable' 
(to  the  ordinary  apprehension),  is  no  poet." 


Superadded  to  these  reflections  came  the  fact  that 
Poe  had  all  his  life  lived  too  fast,  in  a  seventh  heaven 
of  imaginative  exaltation,  fevered  by  the  continual 
search  for  Beauty  and  the  impulse  to  create  it,  over- 
energized  by  a  powerful  fancy  which  made  him  view 
things  in  an  unreal,  almost  spectral,  light,  haunted 
psychologically  by  the  pale  colors  of  the  spectrum  — 
the  violets,  purples,  blues  —  that  enveloped  his  spirit 
in  a  kind  of  halo  and  withdrew  it  from  the  warm  reds 
and  flesh-colors  of  life  as  it  really  was.  Out  of  this 
nimbus  of  encircling  glooms  he  never  effectually  es 
caped,  and  his  intellectual  view  became  jaundiced  and 
purblind  towards  many  of  his  contemporaries. 

"  There  are  few  men  of  that  peculiar  sensibility 
which  is  at  the  root  of  genius,"  says  he,  "who,  in 
early  youth,  have  not  expended  much  of  their  mental 
energy  in  living  too  fast ;  and,  in  later  years,  comes  the 
unconquerable  desire  to  goad  the  imagination  up  to  that 
point  which  it  would  have  attained  in  an  ordinary, 
normal,  or  well-regulated  life.  The  earnest  longing 
for  artificial  excitement,  which,  unhappily,  has  char 
acterized  too  many  eminent  men,  may  thus  be  re 
garded  as  a  psychal  want,  or  necessity  —  an  effort  to 
regain  the  lost  —  a  struggle  of  the  soul  to  assume  the 
position  which,  under  other  circumstances,  would  have 
been  its  due." 

In  his  charges  of  plagiarism  brought  in  "  The  Even 
ing  Mirror"  (January  14,  1845)  and  reiterated  in  five 
instalments  (beginning  March  i)  of  "The  Broadway 
Journal,"  against  Aldrich,  Longfellow,  and  others, 
Poe  was  walking  on  exceedingly  thin  ice  —  very 
dangerous  ground  in  fact  —  which  easily  broke  in  and 
threatened  to  swallow  up  critic  as  well  as  criticised. 
Undoubtedly  the  cultured  reader  of  Longfellow  is  con- 

232  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

tinually  teased  by  haunting  reminiscences  of  things  seen 
and  heard  and  read  before,  and  the  more  cultured  the 
reader,  the  more  abounding  the  haunting  reminiscences. 
Longfellow  had  access  to  many  languages ;  he  spent 
years  of  his  life  teaching  these  languages  and  translating 
artistically  from  them  ;  and  he  would  have  been  more 
than  mortal  if  assimilable  particles  of  the  foreign  gold 
had  not  clang  to  his  memory  and  inwrought  themselves 
here  and  there  with  the  filaments  of  a  most  malleable 
and  plastic  nature.  The  student  of  <f  The  Golden 
Legend,"  or  of  "  Keramos,  "  feels  "  Der  Arme 
Heinrich,"  the  Schiller  background,  of  these  poems 
shimmering  through  the  rich  texture  of  woven  gold 
as  the  bit  of  verbal  Gobelins  is  being  fingered  ;  but 
then :  is  there  any  absolute  originality  predicable  ?  do 
we  not  see  the  very  story  of  Genesis  rooting  itself 
in  the  Babylonian  tablets,  and  the  tragedy  of  Faust 
germinating  from  the  fifteenth  century  Faust  Buch  ? 
"  Outis  "  easily  turned  the  tables  on  Poe  and  showed 
how  readily  the  Coleridgean  rhythms  took  on  a  Poesque 
tinge  when  they  were  arranged  in  a  certain  order  ; 
and  others  have  shown  how  the  "silken  sad  uncertain 
rustling  of  each  purple  curtain  ' '  might  possibly  be 
traceable  to  the  curtains  hanging  in  a  certain  tf  Casa 
Guidi's  Windows  !  " 

Poe's  criticisms  of  these  poetic  contemporaries  only 
made  him  the  more  vulnerable  in  spite  of  his  daily 
Achillean  bath  in  the  waters  of  self-sufficiency  and  in 
tellectual  pride  ;  and  they  did  not  fail  to  retort  on  him 
with  cruel  detail  and  pertinacity.  The  accusation  that 
scenes  from  "  The  Spanish  Student  "  imitated  par 
allel  scenes  from  his  own  "Politian"  was  altogether 
unworthy  of  Poe,  and  about  as  true  as  that  Chivers  in 
"  Conrad  and  Eudora,"  William  Gilmore  Simms  in 


"Beauchampe,"  and  Fermo  Hoffman  in  "  Greys- 
laer,"  all  plagiarized  from  "Politian,"  because  Chi- 
vers,  Simms,  Hoffman,  and  Poe  all  drew  in  common, 
for  their  romances  and  tragedies,  from  the  well-known 
murder  of  Sharp,  the  Solicitor-General  of  Kentucky, 
by  Beauchampe.  Of  this  murder  Poe  wrote  :  "The 
real  events  were  more  impressive  than  are  the  fictitious 
ones.  The  facts  of  this  remarkable  tragedy,  as  ar 
ranged  by  actual  circumstance,  would  put  to  shame  the 
skill  of  the  most  consummate  artist.  Nothing  was  left 
to  the  novelist  but  the  amplification  of  character,  and  at 
this  point  neither  the  author  of  '  Greyslaer  '  nor  of 
'  Beauchampe  '  is  especially  au  fait.  The  incidents 
might  be  better  woven  into  a  tragedy." 

"  Politian  "  is  indeed  a  delicate  idealization  of  this 
tragedy,  never  sufficiently  appreciated  by  the  critics. 

If  Poe,  in  this  ill-tempered  and  unworthy  contro 
versy,  had  only  incidentally  called  to  mind  from  the 
stores  of  his  own  extensive  and  accurate  reading, 
Chaucer,  all  ablaze  and  a-hum  with  "  reminiscences  " 
of  Dante  and  Boccaccio;  Shakspere,  with  Plutarch  and 
the  Celtic  romances  behind  him;  Milton  saturated 
with  classical  savors ;  and  Tennyson,  the  beloved  of 
his  heart,  all  compact  of  Homeric  and  Virgilian  mem 
ories,  he  might  not  have  inveighed  so  fiercely  against 
Longfellow,  the  gentlest  and  most  lovable  of  the 
chameleon  school  of  poets  whose  very  essence  it  is  to 
color  and  flavor  themselves  with  what  they  feed  on. 
Who,  at  all  events,  does  not  prefer  the  glistening, 
silken  thread  of  the  cocoon  to  the  original  mulberry 
leaf  which  has  furnished  it  ? 

Later  on,  in  a  mood  of  penitence,  he  wrote  in 
"The  Literati"  notice  of  James  Aldrich,  whom  he 
had  accused  of  plagiarizing  from  Thomas  Hood's 
"The  Death-Bed"  : 

234  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

"  The  charge  of  plagiarism,  nevertheless,  is  a 
purely  literary  one;  and  a  plagiarism  even  distinctly 
proved  by  no  means  necessarily  involves  any  moral 
delinquency.  This  proposition  applies  very  especially 
to  what  appear  to  be  poetical  thefts.  The  poetic 
sentiment  presupposes  a  keen  appreciation  of  the  beau 
tiful  with  a  longing  for  its  assimilation  into  the  poetic 
ideality.  What  the  poet  intensely  admires  becomes 
thus,  in  very  fact,  although  only  partially,  a  portion  of 
his  own  soul.  Within  this  soul  it  has  a  secondary 
origination  ;  and  the  poet,  thus  possessed  by  another's 
thought,  cannot  be  said  to  take  of  it  possession.  But 
in  either  view  he  thoroughly  feels  it  as  his  own  ;  and 
the  tendency  to  this  feeling  is  counteracted  only  by  the 
sensible  presence  of  the  true,  palpable  origin  of  the 
thought  in  the  volume  whence  he  has  derived  it  —  an 
origin  which,  in  the  long  lapse  of  years,  it  is  impos 
sible  not  to  forget,  should  the  thought  itself,  as  it  often 
is,  be  forgotten.  But  the  frailest  association  will 
regenerate  it ;  it  springs  up  with  all  the  vigor  of  a  new 
birth  ;  its  absolute  originality  is  not  with  the  poet  a 
matter  even  of  suspicion  ;  and  when  he  has  written  it, 
and  printed  it,  and  on  its  account  is  charged  with 
plagiarism,  there  will  be  no  one  more  entirely  as 
tounded  than  himself.  Now,  from  what  I  have  said, 
it  appears  that  the  liability  to  accidents  of  this  charac 
ter  is  in  the  direct  ratio  of  the  poetic  sentiment,  of  the 
susceptibility  to  the  poetic  impression  ;  and,  in  fact, 
all  literary  history  demonstrates  that,  for  the  most  fre 
quent  and  palpable  plagiarisms,  we  must  search  the 
works  of  the  most  eminent  poets." 

Corneille  and  Guillen  de  Castro,  Vergil  and  The 
ocritus,  Plautus  and  Menander,  Manfred  and  Faust, 
Byron  and  Coleridge,  are  names  that  one  uncon- 


sciously  couples  together  in  confirmation  of  the  last 

Poe's  other  contributions  to  the  magazines  during 
the  fourteen  months  now  under  consideration  were  : 
"  The  Oblong  Box"  and  "  Thou  Art  the  Man" 
("Godey's"  for  September  and  October),  "The 
Literary  Life  of  Thingum- Bob"  ("Southern  Literary 
Messenger"  for  December),  "The  Purloined  Letter" 
("The  Gift"  for  1845),  "  Marginalia  "  ("Demo 
cratic  Review"  for  November  and  December), 
"The  1002  Tale  of  Scheherazade  "  ("  Godey," 
February,  1845),  a  lecture  before  the  New  York 
Historical  Society,  February  28,  and  a  connection 
with  "  The  Broadway  Journal,"  beginning  January  4, 
becoming  a  co-editorship  with  Watson  and  Briggs  in 
March.  This  connection  resulted,  during  the  time 
that  he  was  co-editor,  in  the  following  contributions 
new  and  old:  "Peter  Snook,"  "The  Premature 
Burial,"  "Lionizing,"  "Berenice,"  "  Bon-Bon, " 
"The  Oval  Portrait,"  "  The  Philosophy  of  Furni 
ture,"  "  Three  Sundays  in  a  Week,"  "The  Pit  and 
the  Pendulum,"  "  Eleonora,"  "Shadow,"  "The 

Assignation,"  "  Morella,"  "To  F ,"  "The 

Sleeper"  (rejected  by  O' Sullivan  of  "  The  Demo 
cratic  Review"  !),  "To  One  in  Paradise,"  "The 
Conqueror  Worm,"  review  of  W.  W.  Lord,  miscel 
laneous  papers  on  "Anastatic  Printing,"  "Street 
Paving,"  and  a  sour-sweet  review  of  Mrs.  Browning's 
(Miss  Barrett's)  works. 

The  "  Journal  "  did  not  monopolize  his  busy  pen. 
In  the  April  "Whig  Review"  appeared  "The 
Doomed  City,"  "The  Valley  Nis,"  and  « Some 
Words  with  a  Mummy,"  "The  Power  of  Words  " 
("Democratic  Review"),  "The  Facts  in  the  Case 

236  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

of  M.  Valdemar"  ("  Whig  Review"  — one  of  the 
rejected  Grotesques),  "  Eulalie  "  (July  "Whig  Re 
view"),  "The  American  Drama"  (August  "Whig 
Review"),  "The  Imp  of  the  Perverse"  ("Gra 
ham's"),  "Dr.  Tarr  and  Prof.  Fether "  ("Gra 
ham's"),  "Marginalia  I.  and  II."  ("Godey's"). 

After  his  assumption  of  the  editorship  of  the 
"Broadway  Journal,  October,  1845,  he  revised  and 
reprinted  many  of  his  former  publications :  "  How  to 
Write  a  Black  wood  Article,"  "The  Masque  of  the 
Red  Death,"  "The  Literary  Life  of  Thingum-Bob," 
"The  Business  Man,"  "The  Man  who  was  Used 
Up,"  "Never  Bet  the  Devil  your  Head,"  "The 
Tell-Tale  Heart,"  "William  Wilson,"  "Why  the 
Little  Frenchman  wears  his  Hand  in  a  Sling,"  "The 
Landscape  Garden,"  "The  Tale  of  Jerusalem," 
"  The  Island  of  the  Fay,"  "  MS.  Found  in  a  Bot 
tle,"  "The  Due  de  1' Omelette,"  "King  Pest," 
"  The  Power  of  Words,"  "Diddling  considered  as 
one  of  the  Exact  Sciences,"  "The  Coliseum," 
"Zante,"  "  Israfel,"  "Silence,"  "Science," 
"Bridal  Ballad,"  "Eulalie,"  "Lenore,"  "A 
Dream,"  "Catholic  Hymn,"  "Romance,"  "City 

in  the  Sea,"  "  To  the  River ,"  "  The  Valley  of 

Unrest,"  "ToF ,"  "To ,"  song,  "Fairy 
land,"  and  reviews  of  Hoyt  and  Hirst  (the  young  poet 
who  had  written  a  sketch  of  Poe)  .  Before  the  year  quite 
ended,  and  with  it  (December  26)  his  editorship,  he 
had  added  to  these,  "Some  Words  with  a  Mummy," 
"  The  Devil  in  the  Belfry,"  "  A  Tale  of  the  Ragged 
Mountains,"  "Four  Beasts  in  One,"  "  The  Oblong 
Box,"  "Mystification,"  "Loss  of  Breath,"  and 
"The  Spectacles." 

The  relentless  war  which  Poe  waged  on  Transcen- 


dentalism  and  its  votaries  in  New  England  —  Emerson, 
Margaret  Fuller,  William  Ellery  Channing,  and  others 
—  came  to  a  violent  and  rather  discreditable  culmina 
tion  in  October  (one  of  Poe's  astrologically  fatal 
months)  of  this  year.  He  had  been  invited  with 
every  courtesy,  probably  at  Lowell's  instance,  to  read 
a  poem  before  the  Boston  Lyceum  on  the  evening  of 
the  1 6th  ;  he  accepted  ;  but  instead  of  the  expected 
treat  he  read,  "  Al  Aaraaf,"  to  the  vexation  and  dis 
appointment  of  his  audience,  following  up  the  reading 
however  with  an  artistic  recitation  of  "The  Raven." 
The  papers  did  not  hesitate  to  vent  their  spleen  on  the 
poet,  whose  "imp  of  the  perverse  "  was  again  in  the 
ascendant,  and  who  retorted  from  New  York  in  a 
malicious  and  inexcusable  vein  of  insult.  His  vilifiers 
now  streamed  from  lecture-room,  lyceum,  and  periodi 
cal  press,  and  hurled  their  venom  on  the  unfortunate 
man  whose  uncurbable  tongue  was  the  root  of  all  his 
misfortunes.  He  continually  confused  independence 
of  speech  with  dogmatic  arrogance  on  questions  about 
which  open-minded  men  might  well  disagree  ;  and 
his  imperious  tone  and  temper  were  anything  but  con 

Poe  had  now  received  the  honor  of  being  pirated 
and  reprinted  in  England,  and  pirated,  quarrelled  over, 
and  translated  in  France:  the  "Revue  des  Deux 
Mondes,"  the  "Charivari,"  and  other  French  re 
views  and  journals  had  noticed,  copied,  or  reviewed 
him,  and  his  Morgue  and  Mystery  Romances  had 
created  a  profound  sensation  on  the  Seine.  Charles 
Baudelaire,  author  of  "Les  Fleurs  du  Mai,"  took 
up  Poe  as  a  lifelong  study  and  translated  him  so  per 
fectly  as  to  leave  little  to  be  desired  ;  Mallarme,  later, 
reproduced  "  The  Raven  "  in  magnificent  form  ;  and 

238  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

Poe  (Poe,  as  the  Quantin  edition  prints  the  name) 
became  a  cult  with  Theophile  Gautier  and  his  school. 

In  a  scarce  pamphlet  now  before  the  writer — "Mes 
merism  '  in  Articulo  Mortis,'  an  Astounding  and  Hor 
rifying  Narrative,  shewing  the  Extraordinary  Power 
of  Mesmerism  in  Arresting  the  Progress  of  Death  : 
By  Edgar  A.  Poe,  Esq.,  of  New  York.  London: 
Short  &  Co.  1846,"  we  have  a  curious  instance  of 
the  intense  interest  excited  by  Poe's  mesmeric  hoax, 
an  interest  shared  by  Miss  Barrett  and  many  others, 
and  doubtless  heightened  by  the  Advertisement  to  the 
pamphlet  : 

"  The  following  astonishing  narrative  first  appeared 
in  the  '  American  Magazine,'  a  work  of  some  stand 
ing  in  the  United  States,  where  the  case  has  excited 
the  most  intense  interest. 

"The  effects  of  the  mesmeric  influence,  in  this 
case,  were  so  astounding,  so  contrary  to  all  past  ex 
perience,  that  no  one  could  have  possibly  anticipated 
the  final  result.  The  narrative,  though  only  a  plain 
recital  of  facts,  is  of  so  extraordinary  a  nature  as  almost 
to  surpass  belief.  It  is  only  necessary  to  add,  that 
credence  is  given  to  it  in  America,  where  the  occur 
rence  took  place." 

Poe  was  certainly  the  transcendentalist — the  Cagli- 
ostro  —  the  Apollonius  —  of  the  crude  practical  joke 
etherealized  to  a  work  of  art :  he  juggled  with  the 
baubles  of  science,  of  the  intuitional  life,  of  the  Shadow- 
land  between  sleep  and  consciousness  until,  like  an 
Indian  fakir,  he  hoodwinked  his  gaping  audiences  be 
fore  their  very  faces  and  made  the  incredible  everyday 

The  crowning  achievement,  however,  of  this  year 
of  many  things  accomplished  was :  "  The  Raven  and 


other  Poems'*:    New  York:    Wiley   and   Putnam: 
1845,  with  its  glowing  dedication  : 

"To  the  Noblest  of  her  Sex  — To  the  Author  of 
<  The  Drama  of  Exile  '  —  To  Miss  Elizabeth  Barrett 
Barrett,  of  England,  I  Dedicate  this  Volume,  with  the 
most  Enthusiastic  Admiration,  and  with  the  most  Sincere 
Esteem.  —  E.  A.  P." 

The  thirty  poems  of  this  thin  volume  (from  a  copy 
of  the  original  edition  of  which  we  derive  these  details) 
are  the  quintessence  of  Poe's  poetical  genius,  the  de 
canted  spirit  of  a  rare  poetic  power  which  was  not  yet 
complete  indeed,  but  which  was  approaching  its  con 
summation.  "  The  Raven  "  alone,  of  this  volume,1 
has  given  rise  to  a  literature  and  afforded  perhaps  the 
widest  discussion  of  any  single  poem  of  its  length  ever 

The  other  poems  of  the  184.5  volume  remain  as 
Poe  edited  them,  in  their  final  form  for  future  genera 
tions.  They  had  been  put  through  many  crucibles 
of  publication  and  republication — "  Southern  Literary 
Messenger/'  "Graham's,"  "The  Broadway  Jour 
nal,"  and  what  not  —  until  they  reached  their  ulti 
mate  crystallization  and  avatar  in  this  form. 

"The  Broadway  Journal,"  however,  was  not  to 
extend  its  fevered  and  ephemeral  existence  beyond 
the  year  :  the  January  child  became  the  December  old 
man.  Appeals  to  George  Poe  and  others  for  pecuni 
ary  assistance  were  made  in  vain  ;  embarrassments 
came  thick  and  fast  though  the  circulation  of  the  peri 
odical  had  largely  increased,  and  some  things  connected 

1  See  J.  H.  Ingram's  edition  of  the  poem  :  London  :  George 
Redway  :  1885. 

240  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

with  it  seemed  hopeful.      Its  collapse  was  announced 
the  day  after  Christmas  in  the  following  terms  :  — 

Maledictory. —  Unexpected  engagements  demanding 
my  whole  attention,  and  the  objects  being  fulfilled  so 
far  as  regards  myself  personally,  for  which  "The 
Broadway  Journal"  was  established,  I  now,  as  its 
editor,  bid  farewell  —  as  cordially  to  foes  as  to  friends. 


A  final  number,  dated  January  3,  is  said  to  have  been 
issued  under  the  editorship  of  Thomas  Dunn  English. 

Among  the  last  words  written  by  Poe  this  year  was 
the  Preface  to  his  Poems  :  — 

Preface. —  These  trifles  are  collected  and  repub- 
lished  chiefly  with  a  view  to  their  redemption  from  the 
many  improvements  to  which  they  have  been  subjected 
while  going  at  random  "the  rounds  ot  the  press."  * 
If  what  I  have  written  is  to  circulate  at  all,  I  am 
naturally  anxious  that  it  should  circulate  as  I  wrote  it. 
In  defence  of  my  own  taste,  nevertheless,  it  is  incum 
bent  upon  me  to  say,  that  I  think  nothing  in  this 
volume  of  much  value  to  the  public  or  very  creditable 
to  myself.  Events  not  to  be  controlled  have  prevented 
me  from  making,  at  any  time,  any  serious  effort  in 
what,  under  happier  circumstances,  would  have  been 
the  held  of  my  choice.  With  me  poetry  has  been  not 
a  purpose,  but  a  passion  ;  and  the  passions  should  be 
held  in  reverence  ;  they  must  not  —  they  cannot  — 
at  will  be  excited  with  an  eye  to  the  paltry  compen 
sations,  or  the  more  paltry  commendations,  of 
mankind.  E.  A.  P. 

1  Poe  slightly  changed  the  form  of  this  sentence  in  a  MS. 
note  to  his  copy  of  the  Poems. 




SOCIAL     AND     LITERARY     LIFE     IN     NEW     YORK: 

IT  is  time  now  to  take  a  little  peep  at  the  social 
environment  by  which  Poe  and  his  family  were  sur 
rounded  in  the  winter  of  I  846,  this  time  through  the 
spectacles  of  the  poet  Richard  Henry  Stoddard,  a  keen 
admirer  of  Poe's  genius,  but  an  unsparing  foe  to  what 
he  considers  and  calls,  in  season  and  out  of  season, 
Poe's  moral  delinquencies  and  mendacity.1  In  a  re 
view  of  Mrs.  Botta's  (Miss  Anne  Charlotte  Lynch's) 
Memoirs,  he  writes  : 

"  The  best  preparation  for  reading  these  Memoirs 
of  Mrs.  Botta  is  a  glance  over  the  first  forty  or  fifty 
names  in  the  series  of  papers  which  Edgar  Allan  Poe 
contributed,  in  1845,  to  *  The  Lady's  Book'  of  L. 
A.  Godey.  Familiar  with  the  reputation  of  the  ladies 
and  gentlemen  who  figure  in  this  list,  my  acquaintance 
with  Mrs.  Botta  dates  back  only  forty-four  years,  when, 
a  timid  young  person  of  twenty-four,  I  was  introduced 
into  her  salon,  either  by  Dr.  Rufus  Wilmot  Griswold, 
or  by  Mr.  Bayard  Taylor.  I  had  scrawled  some  im 
mature  verse,  which  Mr.  Seba  Smith  and  Mrs.  Caro 
line  M.  Kirkland  thought  not  entirely  unworthy  of  the 
places  which  they  gave  it,  one  in  <  The  Rover, '  a 

1  The  Independent,  Feb.   i,  1894. 
VOL.  I.  —  1 6 

242  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

little  weekly,  the  other,  in  'The  Union  Magazine,'  a 
monthly  of  larger  size,  with  illustrations  on  wood  and 
steel,  mezzotints,  if  my  memory  is  not  at  fault,  by  Mr. 
John  Sartain.  Mrs.  Botta,  who  was  then  Miss  Anne 
Charlotte  Lynch,  was  known  to  me  before  the  date  I 
have  specified  through  her  poems  in  '  Graham's  Maga 
zine  '  and  other  periodicals,  which  were  copied  in 
'The  Evening  Mirror,'  of  which  Mr.  Nathaniel 
Parker  Willis  was  editor-in-chief,  and  in  'The  New 
York  Tribune,'  the  critical  chair  of  which  was  filled 
by  Mr.  George  Ripley.  To  meet  this  accomplished 
gentlewoman  was  a  distinction,  since  in  meeting  her 
one  met  her  friends,  the  least  of  whom  was  worth 
knowing.  She  lived,  as  nearly  as  I  now  recollect,  on 
the  south  side  of  Ninth  Street,  not  far  from  Fifth 
Avenue,  and  with  her  was  her  elderly  mother  and  a 
young  woman  who  is  now  Mrs.  S.  M.  C.  Ewer,  and 
was  a  sister  of  Mr.  Charles  Congdon,  a  brilliant  hu 
morist,  whom  I  did  not  know  until  ten  years  later. 

"  Who  witnessed  my  awkward  entrance  into  Miss 
Lynch 's  well-lighted  parlor  ?  I  have  forgotten  who 
they  were.  I  only  know  that  the  night  was  a  cold 
one ;  late  in  November,  I  fancy,  and  that,  chilled 
through  and  through,  in  spite  of  a  thick  cloak  which  I 
wore,  I  stooped  and  chafed  my  hands  before  her  glow 
ing  coal  fire.  Many  a  day  passed  before  I  heard  the 
last  story  about  my  blundering  gaucherie  on  that  woful 
night,  —  a  gaucherie  which  worsened  itself  in  the  sharp 
eyes  of  Phyllis,  who  declared  that  she  wondered  at  her 
foolish  Corydon.  The  Willises  were  there,  the  poet 
who  wrote  *  Scripture  Sketches '  in  his  youth,  and 
had  written  much  versatile  poetry  ana  prose  since  — 
letters  from  all  quarters  of  the  world  —  his  second  wife 
and  his  daughter  Imogen.  But  before  these  I  see  Miss 


Lynch,  tall,  gracious,  kindly,  the  woman  that  she  re 
mained  until  the  cold  March  morning  two  years  ago 
when  she  wandered  out  into  the  worlds  beyond  this 
work-a-day  world  of  ours.  Present,  also,  were  two 
of  the  swarming  sisterhood  of  American  singers,  one 
elderly  spinster  £Miss  BogartJ  who  was  remembered 
through  one  of  her  solemn  lyrics,  entitled,  I  think, 
'  He  came  too  Late, '  and  a  more  hopeful  married  wo 
man,  whose  songs  were  of  a  more  cheerful  cast.  .  .  . 
"  On  a  later  occasion,  early  in  the  following  spring, 
I  met  another  singer  of  tender  melodies.  She  came  of 
a  poetic  family,  for,  besides  herself,  I  can  recall  a 
sister  who  wrote  fairly  well.  Born  in  Boston,  child 
of  a  merchant  there  named  Locke,  Frances  Sargent 
spent  a  portion  of  her  girlhood  where  I  passed  my  boy 
hood,  in  Hingham,  Mass.,  where,  in  my  seventh  year, 
Mr.  William  Gilmore  Simms  improvised  his  'Atalan- 
tis  :  A  Tale  of  the  Sea.'  Miss  Locke  married  a 
painter  named  Osgood,  with  whom  she  sailed  for  Lon 
don,  where  he  drew  many  celebrities,  and  she  warbled 
her  way  into  their  affections,  remembering  her  native 
land  in  her  first  book,  '  A  Wreath  of  Wild  Flowers 
from  New  England.'  When  I  met  this  gentle  lady, 
seven-and-thirty,  or  it  may  be,  thirty-eight  summers 
had  touched  her,  lightly,  as  it  seemed,  but  heavily,  as 
it  proved  ;  for,  always  fragile,  she  was  in  a  decline, 
reminding  her  friends,  after  her  soul  had  taken  its  flight, 
of  Young's  Narcissa,  — 

"  'She  sparkled,  exhaled  and  went  to  Heaven.' 

Mrs.  Osgood  was  a  paragon.  For,  loved  of  all  men 
who  knew  her,  she  was  hated  by  no  woman  who  ever 
felt  the  charm  of  her  presence.  Poe  was  enamored  of 
her,  felt  or  fancied  that  he  was,  which  with  him  was  the 

244  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

same  thing.  He  dedicated  a  copy  of  verses  to  her,  a 
trifle  which  had  served  the  same  purpose  twice  before. 
He  concealed  her  name  in  an  effusion  of  twenty  lines, 
and  he  reviewed  her  in  his  glowing  fashion,  and  no  one 
disputed  the  accuracy  of  his  verdict,  in  her  case.  But 
Poe  had  a  rival  in  her  affections  in  Dr.  Griswold, 
whom  she  transformed  for  the  moment  into  an  impas 
sioned  poet.  When  Edgar  Allan  was  drugged  to 
death  in  Baltimore,  about  six  months  before  the  time 
of  which  I  am  writing,  I  scribbled  some  verse  in  his 
memory ;  and  she  was  good  enough  to  think  some  of 
it  not  unworthy  of  its  theme.  She  died  a  fevv  weeks 
later.  .  .  . 

"  I  return  to  the  list  of  names  in  Poe's  «  Literati  of 
New  York  City,'  and  recover  others  whom  I  saw  at 
Miss  Lynch' s  evenings  at  home.  Constantly  there 
was  Mr.  W.  M.  Gillespie,  a  mathematician  of  emi 
nence,  who  stammered  in  his  speech ;  Dr.  J.  W. 
Francis,  who  knew  and  was  known  to  everybody,  a 
florid  gentleman  with  flowing  white  locks  ;  and  Ralph 
Hoyt.  Then  came  Mrs.  Ann  S.  Stephens,  poetess, 
writer  of  stories,  and,  later,  of  three  or  four  novels  ; 
and  next  Mrs.  Kirkland,  Mrs.  Embury,  Miss  Sedg- 
wick,  Mrs.  Hewitt,  Mrs.  Elizabeth  Oakes  Smith,  and 
Dr.  Thomas  Ward,  who,  under  the  Horatian  signa 
ture  of  'Flaccus'  celebrated  '  Passaic,.  a  Group  of 
Poems  Touching  that  River,  with  other  Poems.' 

"  Greater  names  were  those  of  Bryant  and  Halleck, 
and  one  lesser,  in  the  person  of  the  bard  who  entreated 
the  woodman  to  spare  the  tree  [G.  P.  Morris]." 

In  her  interesting  "Introductory  Letter"  prefixed 
to  Mr.  E.  L.  Didier's  "  Life  and  Poems  of  Edgar 
Allan  Poe  "  (W.  J.  Widdleton  :  1876),  Mrs.  Whit 
man  writes  : 


from  engraving. 


tained  such  ascendancy  over  the  eloquent  and  orac 
ular  woman,  that  somebody  whispered,  'The  Raven 
has  perched  upon  the  casque  of  Pallas,  and  pulled  all 
the  feathers  out  of  her  cap.  ' 

"In  another  letter,  dated  January  7,  1846,  I  find 
the  following  :  « I  meet  Mr.  Poe  very  often  at  the  re 
ceptions.  He  is  the  observed  of  all  observers.  His 
stories  are  thought  wonderful,  and  to  hear  him  repeat 
"  The  Raven,"  which  he  does  very  quietly,  is  an  event 
in  one's  life.  People  seem  to  think  there  is  something 
uncanny  about  him,  and  the  strangest  stories  are  told, 
and,  what  is  more,  believed,  about  his  mesmeric  ex 
periences,  at  the  mention  of  which  he  always  smiles. 
His  smile  is  captivating  !  .  .  .  Everybody  wants  to 
know  him  ;  but  only  a  few  people  seem  to  get  well 
acquainted  with  him/ 

"This  was  in  the  spring  of  1846,  when  Poe  was  at 
the  very  acme  of  his  literary  and  social  success  among 
the  literati  of  New  York." 

And  how,  one  may  ask,  did  Poe  comport  himself 
among  the  illuminati  of  this  defunct  and  mutually  ad 
miring  generation  ? 

"  As  a  conversationist,"  remarks  Mrs.  Whitman, 
"  we  do  not  remember  his  equal.  We  have  heard 
the  veteran  Landor  (called  by  high  authority  the  best 
talker  in  England)  discuss  with  scathing  sarcasm  the 
popular  writers  of  the  day,  convey  his  political  ani 
mosities  by  fierce  invectives  on  the  '  pretentious  cox 
comb  Albert  '  and  '  the  cunning  knave  Napoleon,'  or 
describe,  in  words  of  strange  depths  and  tenderness, 
the  peerless  charm  of  goodness,  and  the  naive  social 
graces  in  the  beautiful  mistress  of  Gore  House,  '  the 
most  gorgeous  Lady  Blessington.'  We  have  heard 
the  Howadji  talk  of  the  gardens  of  Damascus  till  the 


air  seemed  purpled  and  perfumed  with  its  roses.  We 
have  listened  to  the  trenchant  and  vivid  talk  of  the 
Autocrat  ;  to  the  brilliant  and  exhaustless  colloquial 
resources  of  John  Neal  and  Margaret  Fuller.  We 
have  heard  the  racy  talk  of  Orestes  Brownson  in  the 
old  days  of  his  freedom  and  power,  have  listened  to 
the  serene  wisdom  of  Alcott,  and  treasured  up  memo 
rable  sentences  from  the  golden  lips  of  Emerson.  Un 
like  the  conversational  power  evinced  by  any  of  these, 
was  the  earnest,  opulent,  unpremeditated  speech  of 
Edgar  Poe. 

"Like  his  writings,  it  presented  a  combination  of 
qualities  rarely  met  within  the  same  person,  — a  cool, 
decisive  judgment,  a  wholly  unconventional  courtesy 
and  sincere  grace  of  manner,  and  an  imperious  enthu- 
.siasm,  which  brought  all  hearers  within  the  circle  of  its 

"J.  M.  Daniel,  Esq.,  United  States  Minister  at 
Turin,  who  knew  Poe  well  during  the  last  years  of  his 
life,  says  of  him  :  '  His  conversation  was  the  very 
best  we  have  ever  listened  to.  We  have  never  heard 
any  so  suggestive  of  thought,  or  any  from  which  one 
gained  so  much.  On  literary  criticism  it  was  the 
essence  of  correct  and  profound  criticism  divested  of 
all  formal  pedantries  and  introductory  ideas — the 
kernel  clear  of  the  shell.  He  was  not  a  brilliant  talker 
in  the  common,  after-dinner  sense  of  the  word  ;  he 
was  not  a  maker  of  fine  points,  or  a  frequent  sayer  of 
funny  things.  What  he  said  was  prompted  entirely 
by  the  moment,  and  seemed  uttered  for  the  pleasure 
of  uttering  it.  In  his  animated  moods  he  talked  with 
an  abstracted  earnestness,  as  if  he  were  dictating  to  an 
amanuensis  ;  and,  if  he  spoke  of  individuals,  his  ideas 
ran  upon  their  moral  and  intellectual  qualities,  rather 

248  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

than   upon  the  idiosyncrasies  of   their   active,   visible 
phenomena,  or  the  peculiarities  of  their  manner.' 

"  We  have  said  that  the  charm  of  his  conversation 
consisted  in  its  genuineness^  its  wonderful  directness, 
and  sincerity.  We  believe,  too,  that,  in  the  artistic 
utterance  of  poetic  emotion,  he  was  at  all  times  passion 
ately  genuine.  His  proud  reserve,  his  profound 
melancholy,  his  unworldliness  — may  we  not  say  his 
unearihlincss  —  of  nature  made  his  character  one  very 
difficult  of  comprehension  to  the  casual  observer.  The 
complexity  of  his  intellect,  its  incalculable  resources, 
and  his  masterly  control  of  those  resources  when 
brought  into  requisition  for  the  illustration  of  some 
favorite  theme  or  cherished  creation,  led  to  the  current 
belief  that  its  action  was  purely  arbitrary,  that  he  could 
write  without  emotion  or  earnestnes*  at  the  deliberate 
dictation  of  the  will."  1 

The  year  1846  was  the  beginning  of  Foe's  "de 
scent"  into  the  moral  and  physical  "Maelstrom," 
in  which  he  was  finally  swallowed  up.  All  his  bril 
liant  literary  and  social  successes  had  been  in  vain, 
had  proved  incapable  of  lifting  him  to  a  prosperous 
plane,  had  made  him  indeed  only  a  shining  mark 
for  malice  and  malignity. 

"  In  his  white  ideal 
All  statue-blind." 

Even  while  he  was  frequenting  these  delightful 
salons,  with  his  gentle  Virginia  by  his  side,  he  was 
personally  and  anatomically  studying  its  frequenters 
with  a  view  to  presenting  them  in  full-length  life-like 

1  Mrs.  Whitman,  "  Edgar  Poe,"  Sec.,  pp.  36-38. 


portraits  for  the  fashionable  journal  of  a  neighboring 

"In  the  series  of  papers  which  I  now  propose," 
he  writes,  in  his  Introduction,  "  my  design  is,  in  giving 
my  own  unbiassed  opinion  of  the  literati  (male  and 
female)  of  New  York,  to  give  at  the  same  time  very 
closely,  if  not  with  absolute  accuracy,  that  of  conver 
sational  society  in  literary  circles.  It  must  be  expected, 
of  course,  that,  in  innumerable  particulars,  I  shall  differ 
from  the  voice,  that  is  to  say,  what  appears  to  be  the 
voice,  of  the  public  ;  but  this  is  a  matter  of  no  conse 
quence  whatever. 

"  New  York  literature  maybe  taken  as  a  fair  repre 
sentation  of  that  of  the  country  at  large.  The  city  is 
itself  the  focus  of  American  letters.  Its  authors  include, 
perhaps,  one-fourth  of  all  in  America,  and  the  in 
fluence  they  exert  on  their  brethren,  if  seemingly 
silent,  is  not  the  less  extensive  and  decisive.  As  I 
shall  have  to  speak  of  many  individuals,  my  limits  will 
not  permit  me  to  speak  of  them  otherwise  than  in  brief; 
but  this  brevity  will  be  merely  consistent  with  the  de 
sign,  which  is  that  of  simple  opinion,  with  little  of 
either  argument  or  detail.  With  one  or  two  excep 
tions,  I  am  well  acquainted  with  every  author  to  be 
introduced.  .  .  .  Each  individual  is  introduced  abso 
lutely  at  random." 

Thirty-eight  of  these  accomplished  gentlemen  and 
gentlewomen  of  a  past  generation  pass  panoramically 
before  us,  make  their  brief  curtsy,  and,  as  briefly, 
pass  into  the  oblivion  devoted  to  the  Dilettanti.  Poe's 
manner  is  sharp,  French,  epigrammatic ;  the  crisp  dis 
tinction  of  his  style,  the  absolutely  lucid  form  of  his 
statement  in  these  papers,  has  never  been  surpassed  and 
seldom  equalled  ;  and  yet  he  contrives  to  bring  within 


it  just  enough  of  the  vanishing  personality  of  his  subject 
to  pique  attention  and  avoid  offence. 

Only  a  few  reputations  were  assailed  by  the  critic  : 
coarse  personalities  were  altogether  absent ;  the  women 
were  treated  with  chivalrous  respect  and  discrimina 
tion —  even  the  dreaded  Margaret  Fuller  was  discussed 
with  Castilian  courtesy  ;  and  the  fellow-journalists  — . 
Briggs,  Willis,  Colton,  Hoffman,  Locke  —  were  al 
most  universally  appreciated  and  praised.  Notes  of 
discord  sounded  in  the  case  of  Aldrich  and  "  Thomas 
Dunn  Brown  "  and  Lewis  Gaylord  Clark.  "  Mr. 
Clark,  as  a  literary  man,  has  about  him  no  determin- 
ateness,  no  distinctiveness,  no  saliency  of  point;  an 
apple,  in  fact,  or  a  pumpkin  has  more  angles.  He  is 
as  smooth  as  oil,  or  a  sermon  from  Dr.  Hawkes  ;  he 
is  noticeable  for  nothing  in  the  world  except  for  the 
markedness  by  which  he  is  noticeable  for  nothing. " 

Mrs.  Osgood,  Mrs.  Child,  Miss  Sedgwick,  Miss  Bo- 
gart,  Miss  Lynch,  Mrs.  Embury,  Mrs.  Kirkland,  Mrs. 
Stephens,  Mrs.  Gore,  Mrs.  Hewitt,  Mrs.  Mowatt, 
and  Margaret  Fuller  are  the  "  immortelles  "  beaded 
on  Poe's  eternal  scroll;  Halleck,  Willis,  and  Fenno 
Hoffman  (founder  of  "The  Knickerbocker")  are 
the  only  poets  still  distinguishable  from  the  throng  of 
minor  contemporaries. 

It  is  a  curious  fact  that  the  two  great  historic  foes 
of  this  period  of  American  literature  should  also  have 
been  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  time  for  the  adjudica 
tion  of  literary  reputations.  Griswold  revelled  in  an 
thologies,  in  volumes  of  prose  and  poetical  selections, 
in  old-fashioned  florilegiums  and  "elegant  extracts" 
sealed  with  the  seven  seals  of  Solomon's  wisdom.  Poe 
was  the  taster  —  and  tester —  in  these  cellars  of  Amon 
tillado,  often  delicately  and  derisively  sceptical  of  its 


being  Amontillado  at  all.  Both  men  were  phenomenally 
industrious,  and  both  have  left  monuments  of  erudi 
tion.  Rivals  even  in  their  surreptitious  loves,  they 
worked  shoulder  to  shoulder  in  the  bustling  forties  amid 
the  noise  of  presidential  campaigns  and  the  far-off  mut- 
terings  of  the  Mexican  War  ;  and  the  one  bequeathed 
his  reputation  to  the  other  —  to  be  ravenously  de 
voured  !  Gris wold's  cohort  of  friends — Horace 
Greeley,  Raymond,  Hoffman,  Donald  G.  Mitchell, 
Bayard  Taylor,  C.  G.  Leland,  the  Carys,  James  T. 
Fields,  etc.,  was  offset  by  Poe's  cohort  of  foes  made 
in  his  self-imposed  task  as  a  censor  morum  of  more 
than  Catonian  severity.  Vermont  and  Virginia  were 
certainly  reflected  in  their  temperaments  :  the  one 
keen,  cold,  incisive,  indefatigable,  resourceful,  devot 
ing  an  entire  lifetime  to  the  altruistic  presentation  of 
others'  claims  to  literary  recognition,  a  Dryasdust  of  a 
superior  kind  whose  labors  in  collecting  and  in  com 
mentary  were  informed  by  an  intelligent  spirit,  if  not 
by  a  flaming  zeal ;  the  other,  warm,  imaginative, 
high-strung,  impelled  by  an  irresistible  genius  that  never 
let  him  rest,  imperiously  creative,  haughtily  egotistic, 
forced  rather  to  the  presentation  of  his  own  claims  than 
to  the  recognition  of  others. 

252  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 




THE  sensation  caused  by  the  successive  issues  of 
"  The  Literati  "  was  very  great,  and  when  the  series 
reached  "Thomas  Dunn  Brown  "  [English],  a  violent 
explosion  ensued.  English  published  in  "  The  Even 
ing  Mirror"  (then  managed  by  Fuller  &  Co.)  a 
libellous  and  slanderous  article,  full  of  filth  and  inde 
cency,  accusing  Poe  of  forgery,  theft,  and  drunkenness : 
"he  is  not  alone  thoroughly  unprincipled,  base,  and 
depraved,  but  silly,  vain,  and  ignorant,  —  not  alone  an 
assassin  in  morals,  but  a  quack  in  literature,"  etc.,  etc. 

It  is  needless  to  say  that  Poe  brought  suit  and  re 
covered  damages  for  defamation  of  character.  The 
old  gentleman  (author  of  "Ben  Bolt"  and  ex-mem 
ber  of  the  United  States  Congress)  died  in  Newark 
April  i,  1902. 

The  controversy,1  coarse  and  abusive  as  it  was  on 
both  sides,  had  one  good  consequence  for  Poe  :  it  re 
sulted  in  a  verdict  of  $225  in  his  favor,  the  costs  and 
all  running  up  a  bill  of  $492  for  the  other  party. 
With  this  money,  apparently,  Poe  furnished  the  little 

1  English's  letter  appeared  in  the  New  York  Mirror  of  June  23— 
July  13,  1846,  and  Poe's  reply  in  the  Philadelphia  Spirit  of  the 
Times  July  10,  1846.  See  Vol.  II.  p.  233, 


sleeping-room  facing  towards  the  street,  Virginia  died.1 
At  the  left  of  the  little  hallway  is  an  old-fashioned 
winding  staircase  to  the  attic  above.  In  this  low- 
roofed  room  Poe  had  a  writing-table  and  his  meagre 
library.  Here  in  seclusion  his  more  ambitious  work 
was  done.  The  musical  'Bells/  the  pathetic  'An 
nabel  Lee,'  the  weird  '  Ulalume/  and  the  enig 
matic  'Eureka/  as  well  as  some  of  his  best  fiction 
were  written  here." 

Hither,  then,  came  the  poet  in  the  early  summer  of 
1846,  while  the  "  Literati  "  excitement  was  raging, 
and  here  doubtless  many  of  the  articles  were  written. 

Mrs.  Whitman,  in  a  few  words  describing  these 
"lonesome  latter  years,"  paints  graphically  the  charm 
of  the  new  residence  : 

"It  is  well  known  to  those  acquainted  with  the 
parties,  that  the  young  wife  of  Edgar  Poe  [she  was 
only  twenty-four  or  five]  died  of  lingering  consump 
tion,  which  manifested  itself  even  in  her  girlhood. 
All  who  have  had  opportunities  for  observation  in  the 
matter  have  noticed  her  husband's  tender  devotion  to 
her  during  her  prolonged  illness.  ...  It  is  true  that, 
notwithstanding  her  vivacity  and  cheerfulness  at  the 
time  we  have  alluded  to,  her  health  was  even  then 
rapidly  sinking  ;  and  it  was  for  her  dear  sake,  and  for 
the  recovery  of  that  peace  which  had  been  so  fatally 
perilled  amid  the  irritations  and  anxieties  of  his  New 
York  life,  that  Poe  left  the  city,  and  removed  to  the 
little  Dutch  cottage  in  Fordham,  where  he  passed  the 
three  remaining  years  of  his  life.  It  was  to  this  quiet 
haven,  in  the  beautiful  spring  of  1846,  when  the 
fruit-trees  were  all  in  bloom  and  the  grass  in  its 

1  She   died,   according   to   all   descriptions,   upstairs,  in  a  room 
where  the  ceiling  sloped. 


freshest  verdure,  that  he  brought  his  Virginia  to  die. 
Here  he  watched  her  failing  breath  in  loneliness  and 
privation  through  many  solitary  moons,  until,  on  a  deso 
late,  dreary  day  of  the  ensuing  winter,  he  saw  her 
remains  borne  from  beneath  its  lowly  roof  to  a  neighbor 
ing  cemetery.  It  was  towards  the  close  of  the  year 
following  her  death,  his  most  "  immemorial  year, " 
that  he  wrote  the  strange  threnody  of  "  Ulalume." 
This  poem,  perhaps  the  most  original  and  weirdly  sug 
gestive  of  all  his  poems,  resembles  at  first  sight  some  of 
Turner's  landscapes,  being  apparently  'without  form 
and  void,  and  having  darkness  on  the  face  of  it.'  It 
is,  nevertheless,  in  its  basis,  although  not  in  the  precise 
correspondence  of  time,  simply  historical.  Such  was 
the  poet's  lonely  midnight  walk  ;  such,  amid  the  deso 
late  memories  and  sceneries  of  the  hour,  was  the  new 
born  hope  enkindled  within  his  heart  at  sight  of  the 
morning  star  — 

"  *  Astarte's  bediamonded  crescent  —  ' 

coming  up  as  the  beautiful  harbinger  of  love  and  hap 
piness  yet  awaiting  him  in  the  untried  future  ;  and 
such  the  sudden  transition  of  feeling,  the  boding  dread, 
that  supervened  on  discovering  that  which  had  at  first 
been  unnoted  —  that  it  shone,  as  if  in  mockery  or  in 
warning,  directly  over  the  sepulchre  of  the  lost  «  Ula 

"  A  writer  in  the  *  London  Critic,'  after  quoting 
the  opening  stanzas  of  '  Ulalume,'  says  :  <  These  to 
many  will  appear  only  words.  But  what  wondrous 
words  !  What  a  spell  they  wield  !  What  a  withered 
unity  there  is  in  them  !  The  instant  they  are  uttered, 
a  misty  picture,  with  a  tarn  dark  as  a  murderer's  eye 
below,  and  the  thin  yellow  leaves  of  October  fluttering 

256  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

above,  —  exponents  of  a  misery  which  scorns  the 
name  of  sorrow,  —  is  hung  up  in  the  chambers  of 
your  soul  forever.' 

'«  An  English  writer,  now  living  in  Paris  [1860], 
the  author  of  some  valuable  contributions  to  our 
American  periodicals,  passed  several  weeks  at  the  little 
cottage  in  Fordham  in  the  early  autumn  of  1847,  and 
described  to  us,  with  a  truly  English  appreciativeness, 
its  unrivalled  neatness,  and  the  quaint  simplicity  of  its 
interior  and  surroundings.  It  was  at  the  time  bordered 
by  a  flower-garden,  whose  clumps  of  rare  dahlias  and 
brilliant  beds  of  fall  flowers  showed,  in  the  careful  cul 
ture  bestowed  upon  them,  the  fine  floral  taste  of  the 

"An  American  writer  who  visited  the  cottage  dur 
ing  the  summer  of  the  same  year  [1847],  described 
it  as  half  buried  in  fruit-trees,  and  having  a  thick  grove 
of  pines  in  its  immediate  neighborhood.  The  prox 
imity  of  the  railroad,  and  the  increasing  population  of 
the  little  village,  have  since  wrought  great  changes  in 
the  place.  Round  an  old  cherry-tree,  near  the  door, 
was  a  broad  bank  of  greenest  turf.  The  neighboring 
beds  of  mignonette  and  heliotrope,  and  the  pleasant 
shade  above,  made  this  a  favorite  seat.  Rising  at  four 
o'clock  in  the  morning  for  a  walk  to  the  magnificent 
Aqueduct  bridge  over  Harlem  River,  our  informant 
found  the  poet,  with  his  mother,  standing  on  the  turf 
beneath  the  cherry-tree,  eagerly  watching  the  move 
ments  of  two  beautiful  birds  that  seemed  contemplating 
a  settlement  in  its  branches.  He  had  some  rare  tropi 
cal  birds  in  cages,  which  he  cherished  and  petted  with 
assiduous  care.  Our  English  friend  described  him  as 
giving  to  his  birds  and  his  flowers  a  delighted  atten 
tion  that  seemed  quite  inconsistent  with  the  gloomy 


and  grotesque  character  of  his  writings.  A  favorite 
cat,  too,  enjoyed  his  friendly  patronage  ;  and  often, 
when  he  was  engaged  in  composition,  it  seated  itself 
on  his  shoulder,  purring  as  in  complacent  approval  of 
the  work  proceeding  under  its  supervision. 

"During  Mr.  Poe's  residence  at  Fordham,  a  walk 
to  High  Bridge  was  one  of  his  favorite  and  habitual 
recreations.  The  water  of  the  Aqueduct  is  conveyed 
across  the  river  on  a  range  of  lofty  granite  arches, 
which  rise  to  the  height  of  145  feet  above  high- water 
level.  On  the  top  a  turfed  and  grassy  road,  used  only 
by  foot-passengers  and  flanked  on  either  side  by  a  low 
parapet  of  granite,  makes  one  of  the  finest  promenades 

"The  winding  river,  and  the  high,  rocky  shores  at 
the  western  extremity  of  the  bridge,  are  seen  to  great 
advantage  from  this  lofty  avenue.  In  the  last  melan 
choly  years  of  his  life  —  '  the  lonesome  latter  years  ' 
—  Poe  was  accustomed  to  walk  there  at  all  times  of 
the  day  and  night,  often  pacing  the  then  solitary  path 
way  for  hours  without  meeting  a  human  being.  A 
little  to  the  east  of  the  cottage  rises  a  ledge  of  rocky 
ground,  partly  covered  with  pines  and  cedars,  com 
manding  a  fine  view  of  the  surrounding  country,  and 
of  the  picturesque  college  of  St.  John's,  which  had  at 
that  time  in  its  neighborhood  venerable  old  trees.  This 
rocky  ledge  was  also  one  of  the  poet's  favorite  resorts. 
Here  through  the  long  summer  days,  and  through 
solitary,  star-lit  nights,  he  loved  to  sit,  dreaming  his 
gorgeous  waking  dreams,  or  pondering  the  deep  prob 
lems  of  'The  Universe,' —  that  grand  '  prose  poem  ' 
to  which  he  devoted  the  last  and  maturest  energies  of 
his  wonderful  intellect." 

Along  with  the  "Literati"  sketches  of  this  sum* 
VOL.  i.  — 17 

258  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

mer  went  "The  Philosophy  of  Composition/'  and 
instalments  of  ''Marginalia"  to  "Graham's''  and 
"The  Democratic  Review,"  for  collecting  and  pub 
lishing  which  Poe  has  been  taunted  by  a  recent  biog 
rapher,  because  some  of  them  consisted  of  paragraphs 
already  used  in  his  printed  reviews  of  this  or  that 
notability  —  or  nonentity.  The  fact  is,  that  the 
"Marginalia"  and  the  neglected  "  Pinakidia  "  of 
the  early  "Southern  Literary  Messenger"  are  among 
the  most  interesting  products  of  Poe' s  mind,  giving  his 
most  intimate  thoughts  about  men  and  things,  treasur 
ing  his  favorite  quotations  from  a  wide  world  of  read 
ing,  and  singling  out  remarkable  sayings  such  as  one 
finds  imbedded  in  the  prose  of  Pascal  or  the  maxims 
of  La  Rochefoucauld.  In  them  Poe  often  strikingly 
exemplifies  his  powers  of  sarcasm,  satire,  pith  and  epi 
gram,  not  to  speak  of  his  sardonic  humor  —  a  mental 
feature  altogether  denied  Poe  by  one  of  his  most  sym 
pathetic  critics  —  James  Hannay.1  "He  has,  for  in 
stance,  no  Humor  —  had  little  sympathy  with  the 
various  forms  of  human  life.  But  he  is  perfectly  poetic 
in  his  own  province.  If  his  circle  was  a  narrow,  it  was 
a  magic  one.  His  poetry  is  sheer  poetry,  and  bor 
rows  nothing  from  without,  as  Didactic  Poetry  does. 
For  Didactic  Poetry  he  had  a  very  strong  and  very 
justifiable  dislike." 

This  same  critic  singularly  errs  when  he  says  (in 
the  first  of  the  following  sentences)  :  "  Traces  of 
spiritual  emotion  are  not  to  be  found  there  [in  his 
youthful  poems] .  Sorrow  there  is,  but  not  divine 
sorrow.  There  is  not  any  approach  to  the  Holy  — 
to  the  Holiness  which  mingles  with  all  Tennyson's 

1  The  Poetical  Works  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe,  by  James  Hannay  : 
London,  1863. 


poetry  —  as  the  Presence  with  the  Wine.  And  yet, 
when  you  view  his  poems  simply  as  poems,  this  char 
acteristic  does  not  make  itself  felt  as  a  Want.  It 
would  seem  as  if  he  had  only  to  deal  with  the  Beauti 
ful  as  a  human  aspirant.  His  soul  thirsted  for  the 
'supernal  loveliness.'  That  thirst  was  to  him  Reli 
gion —  all  the  Religion  you  discover  in  him.  But  if 
we  cannot  call  him  religious,  we  may  say  that  he  sup 
plies  the  materials  to  worship.  You  want  flowers  and 
fruit  for  your  altar;  and  wherever  Poe's  muse  has 
passed,  flowers  and  fruits  are  fairer  and  brighter. 

(f  With  all  this  passion  for  the  Beautiful,  no  poet 
was  ever  less  voluptuous.  He  never  profaned  his 
genius  whatever  else  he  profaned.  'Irene,'  '  Ula- 
lume,'  '  Lenore,'  <  Annabel  Lee,'  'Annie,'  are  all 
gentle,  and  innocent,  and  fairy-like.  A  sound  of  music 

—  rising  as  from  an  unseen  Ariel  —  brings  in  a   most 
pure  and  lovely  figure, —  sad,  usually  ;  so  delicate  and 
dreamy  are  these  conceptions,  that,  indeed,  they  hint 
only    of   some    transcendent    beauty  —  some    region 
where  passion  has  no  place,  where 

"  'Music,  and  moonlight,  and  feeling  are  one,' 

as  Shelley  says. 

"Poe  loved  splendour — he  delighted  in  the  gorgeous 

—  in  ancient  birth — in  tropical  flowers  —  in  southern 
birds  —  in   castellated  dwellings.      The  hero    of    his 
'  Raven  '  sits  on  a  '  violet  velvet  lining  '  ;  they  have 
'crested  palls.'      He  delighted,  as  Johnson  said   of 
Collins,  '  to  gaze  on  the  magnificence   of  golden   pal 
aces,  to  repose  by  the  waterfalls  of  Elysian  gardens.' 
His  scenery  is  everywhere  magnificent.      His  Genius 
is  always  waited  upon  with  the  splendour  of  an    Ori 
ental  monarch." 

260  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

The  "  Marginalia"  of  which  we  have  been  speak 
ing  were  in  all  likelihood  paragraphs  originally  trans 
ferred  from  Poe's  note-books  to  this  or  that  review  as 
occasion  called  for  them,  and  then  reclaimed  from 
these  reviews  for  an  independent  purpose,  later. 

"We  know  now  that  the  charge,"  says  Mr.  Ap- 
pleton  Morgan,  "that  Poe  resold  his  manuscripts  is  a 
lie,  circumstantially  nailed  by  the  publisher,  still  fortu 
nately  living,  from  whose  reminiscences  the  allegation 
originated.  This  publisher  did,  it  seems,  pay  Poe 
three  times  for  three  versions  of  'The  Bells,'  himself 
insisting  on  so  doing,  because  the  poems  were  substan 
tially  distinct  pieces.  The  statement  that  Poe  stole 
the  theme,  metre,  rhythm,  and  technique  of  '  The 
Raven  '  from  a  certain  lunatic  in  a  certain  madhouse 
has  also  fallen  to  the  ground,  it  having  been  ascer 
tained  that  there  never  was  either  such  a  lunatic  or 
such  a  madhouse. 

"  The  truth  is,  perhaps,  that  Poe's  greatest  crime 
was  his  poverty  —  often  abject,  and  always  extreme." 

Echoes  of  this  misery  reverberated  pathetically 
through  the  Griswold  correspondence.  "I  know 
nothing  of  the  Poe  family,"  writes  Miss  M.  L.  Sew- 
ard  to  Mrs.  Osgood,  New  York,  November  23d, 
1846,  "except  that  they  are  in  great  poverty." 

"The  Poes  are  in  the  same  state  of  physical  and 
pecuniary  suffering — indeed  worse,  than  they  were  last 
summer,"  writes  Mrs.  M.  E.  Hewitt  to  the  same 
correspondent,  under  date  of  December  20,  1846; 
"  for  now  the  cold  weather  is  added  to  their  accumu 
lation  of  ills.  I  went  to  inquire  of  Mr.  Post  [publisher 
of  the  "Columbian  Magazine"]  about  them.  He 
confirmed  all  that  I  had  previously  heard  of  their 
condition.  Although  he  says  Mrs.  Clemm  has  never 


told  him  they  were  in  want,  yet  she  borrows  a  shilling 
often,  to  get  a  letter  from  the  office  —  but  Mrs.  Gove 
has  been  to  see  the  Poes  and  found  them  living  in  the 
greatest  wretchedness.  I  am  endeavoring  to  get  up  a 
contribution  for  them  among  the  editors,  —  and  the 
matter  has  got  into  print  —  very  much  to  my  regret, 
as  I  fear  it  will  hurt  Foe's  pride  to  have  his  affairs 
made  so  public." 

Almost  the  last  day  of  this  distressful  year  (De 
cember  29th),  Oliver  Wendell  Holmes  wrote  to 
Griswold :  — 

"  I  hope  you  will  do  whatever  you  can  to  favor 
Mr.  Poe  in  the  matter  of  which  he  spoke  to  you  in 
his  letter.  .  .  .  T  have  always  thought  Mr.  Poe  en 
tertained  a  favorable  opinion  of  me  since  he  taught  me 
how  to  scan  one  of  my  own  poems.  And  I  am  not 
ashamed,  though  it  may  be  very  unphilosophical,  to 
be  grateful  for  his  good  opinion,  and  even  venture  to 
hope  that  he  may  find  something  to  approve  in  one  or 
two  of  my  last  poems." 

Poe  was  only  too  eager  to  welcome  young  talent 
like  that  of  Holmes,  Bayard  Taylor,  the  Davidson 
sisters,  and  others  ;  even  from  the  depths  of  his  black 
est  misery  he  had  evidently  written  for  a  copy  of 
Holmes's  poems  with  a  view  to  a  notice  of  them. 

Mrs.  Gove-Nichols  (whom,  as  Mrs.  Gove,  Poe 
had  reviewed  sympathetically  in  "The  Literati") 
gives  us  a  pathetic  glimpse  of  Poe  and  of  Virginia's  last 
month  about  this  time  : 

"  Poe's  voice  was  melody  itself.  He  always  spoke 
low,  when  in  a  violent  discussion,  compelling  his  hear 
ers  to  listen  if  they  would  know  his  opinion,  his  facts, 
fancies,  or  philosophy,  or  his  weird  imaginings.  These 
last  usually  flowed  from  his  pen,  seldom  from  his  tongue, 

262  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

"  On  this  occasion  I  was  introduced  to  the  young 
wife  of  the  poet,  and  to  the  mother,  then  more  than 
sixty  years  of  age.  She  was  a  tall,  dignified  old  lady, 
with  a  most  lady-like  manner,  and  her  black  dress, 
though  old  and  much  worn,  looked  really  elegant  on 
her.  She  wore  a  widow's  cap,  of  the  genuine  pattern, 
and  it  suited  excellently  with  her  snow-white  hair. 
Her  features  were  large,  and  corresponded  with  her 
stature,  and  it  seemed  strange  how  such  a  stalwart  and 
queenly  woman  could  be  the  mother  of  her  petite 
daughter.  Mrs.  Poe  looked  very  young  ;  she  had  large 
black  eyes,  and  a  pearly  whiteness  of  complexion  which 
was  a  perfect  pallor.  Her  pale  face,  her  brilliant  eyes, 
and  her  raven  hair,  gave  her  an  unearthly  look.  One 
felt  that  she  was  almost  a  dissolved  spirit,  and  when 
she  coughed  it  was  made  certain  that  she  was  rapidly 
passing  away. 

"  The  mother  seemed  hale  and  strong,  and  appeared 
to  be  a  sort  of  universal  Providence  to  her  strange 

"  The  cottage  had  an  air  of  taste  and  gentility  that 
must  have  been  lent  to  it  by  the  presence  of  its  inmates. 
So  neat,  so  poor,  so  unfurnished,  and  yet  so  charming, 
a  dwelling  I  never  saw.  The  floor  of  the  kitchen 
was  white  as  wheaten  flour.  A  table,  a  chair,  and  a 
little  stove  that  it  contained,  seemed  to  furnish  it  com 
pletely.  The  sitting-room  floor  was  laid  with  check 
matting  ;  four  chairs,  a  light  stand,  and  a  hanging 
book-shelf  composed  its  furniture.  There  were  pretty 
presentation  copies  of  books  on  the  little  shelves,  and 
the  Brownings  had  posts  of  honour  on  the  stand.  With 
quiet  exultation  Poe  drew  from  his  side-pocket  a  letter 
he  had  recently  received  from  Elizabeth  Barrett  (Brown 
ing).  He  read  it  to  us.  It  was  very  flattering.  She 


told  Poe  that  his  "  poem  of  the  Raven  had  awakened 
a  fit  [of]  horror  in  England.  This  was  what  he  loved 
to  do."  1  .  .  . 

"The  autumn  came,  and  Mrs.  Poe  sank  rapidly  in 
consumption,"  continues  Mrs.  Gove-Nichols.  "I 
saw  her  in  her  bed-chamber.  Everything  here  was  so 
neat,  so  purely  clean,  so  scant  and  poverty-stricken, 
that  I  saw  the  poor  sufferer  with  such  a  heart-ache. 
.  .  .  There  was  no  clothing  on  the  bed,  which  was 
only  straw,  but  a  snow-white  counterpane  and  sheets. 
The  weather  was  cold,  and  the  sick  lady  had  the 
dreadful  chills  that  accompany  the  hectic  fever  of 
consumption.  She  lay  on  the  straw-bed,  wrapped  in 
her  husband's  great-coat,  with  a  large  tortoise-shell  cat 
in  her  bosom.  The  wonderful  cat  seemed  conscious 
of  her  great  usefulness.  The  coat  and  the  cat  were 
the  sufferer's  only  means  of  warmth  ;  except  as  her 
husband  held  her  hands,  and  her  mother  her  feet. 

"  Mrs.  Clemm  was  passionately  fond  of  her  daugh 
ter,  and  her  distress  on  account  of  her  illness  and 
poverty  was  dreadful  to  see. 

"  As  soon  as  I  was  made  aware  of  these  painful 
facts,  I  came  to  New  York  and  enlisted  the  sympa 
thies  and  services  of  a  lady,  whose  heart  and  hand 
were  ever  open  to  the  poor  and  miserable.  A  feather 
bed  and  abundance  of  bed-clothing  and  other  comforts 
were  the  first-fruits  of  my  labour  of  love.  The  lady 
headed  a  private  subscription,  and  carried  them  $60 
the  next  week.  From  the  day  this  kind  lady  saw  the 
suffering  family  of  the  poet,  she  watched  over  them  as 
a  mother  watches  over  her  babe.  She  saw  them 
often,  and  ministered  to  the  comfort  of  the  dying  and 
the  living. ' '  2 

1  Ingram,  II.,  p.  91.  z  Ibid.,  p.  97. 


This  angel  of  mercy  was  Marie  Louise  Shew  (after 
wards  Mrs.  Houghton),  to  whom  Poe  addressed  the 
beautiful  lines  in  "The  Home  Journal"  for  March 
13,  1847: 

TO  M.   L.   S 

Of  all  who  hail  thy  presence  as  the  morning  ; 

Of  all  to  whom  thy  absence  is  the  night, 

The  blotting  utterly  from  out  high  heaven 

The  sacred  sun  ;  of  all  who,  weeping,  bless  thee 

Hourly  for  hope,  for  life,  ah  !   above  all, 

For  the  resurrection  of  deep-buried  faith 

In  truth,  in  virtue,  in  humanity  ; 

Of  all  who,  on  despair's  unhallowed  bed 

Lying  down  to  die,  have  suddenly  arisen 

At  thy  soft-murmured  words,   "  Let  there  be 

light  !" 

At  the  soft-murmured  words  that  were  fulfilled 
In  the  seraphic  glancing  of  thine  eyes  ; 
Of  all  who  owe  thee  most,  whose  gratitude 
Nearest  resembles  worship,  oh,  remember, 
The  truest,  the  most  fervently  devoted, 
And  think  that  these  weak  lines  are  written  by  him  : 
By  him,  who,  as  he  pens  them,  thrills  to  think 
His  spirit  is  communing  with  an  angel's. 

In  March,  1 848,  Poe  again  addressed  the  passion 
ate  lines  "  To ,"  beginning : 

"  Not  long  ago  the  writer  of  these  lines, 
In  the  mad  pride  of  intellectuality, 
Maintained  '  the  power  of  words  ' " 

to  this  same  lady,  thus  evincing  his  eternal  gratitude 
for  her  goodness  to  his  dying  wife.  It  is  to  her  that 
we  owe  the  first  suggestion  of  "  The  Bells," 


•/    v         /— 

01  W-  HvAAl  sto^kifU       "> 

si*    1&LC4** 

/e   ^  w  m    *»+  . 

c4      ^T^JL.     So 

i  '  - 

/id    ri'Ui.    t 



The  pitiable  condition  of  the  family  got  into  print : 
the  ever-ready  Willis  heard  of  it  and  printed  an  ap 
peal  in  "The  Home  Journal"  for  help;  which 
brought  forth  a  painful  protest  from  Poe  at  thus  having 
his  private  affairs  thrust  upon  the  public.  He  might 
die  of  starvation,  like  Otway  and  Spenser,  but  he  did 
not  wish  the  public  to  know  anything  about  it.  Thirty 
days  after  his  letter  of  protest  was  written  Virginia  ac 
tually  did  die,  January  30,  1847. 

The  day  before  the  sad  event  he  wrote  as  follows 
to  Mrs.  Shew  : 

FORDHAM,  Jan.  29,  '47. 

KINDEST  —  DEAREST  FRIEND  —  My  poor  Virginia  yet 
lives,  although  failing  fast  and  now  suffering  much  pain. 
May  God  grant  her  life  until  she  sees  you  and  thanks  you 
once  again  !  Her  bosom  is  full  to  overflowing  —  like  my 
own  —  with  a  boundless  —  inexpressible  gratitude  to  you. 
Lest  she  may  never  see  you  more  —  she  bids  me  say  that 
she  sends  you  her  sweetest  kiss  of  love  and  will  die  bless 
ing  you.  But  come  —  oh,  come  to-morrow  !  Yes  !  I 
will  be  calm  —  everything  you  so  nobly  wish  to  see  me. 
My  mother  sends  you,  also,  her  "  warmest  love  and 
thanks."  She  begs  me  to  ask  you,  if  possible,  to  make 
arrangements  at  home  so  that  you  may  stay  with  us  to 
morrow  night.  I  enclose  the  order  to  the  Postmaster. 
Heaven  bless  you  and  farewell, 

EDGAR  A.   PoE.1 

Mrs.  Shew  attended  to  the  last  sad  rites  of  the  dead, 
and  Virginia  was  temporarily  placed  in  the  family  vault 
of  the  Valentines,  in  the  Reformed  Church  at  Ford- 

Any  one  who  remembers  the  awful  vividness  with 
which  Poe  has  depicted  the  slow  consuming  away  of 

1  Ingram,  II.,  p.   107. 


a  beloved  one  through  a  lingering  illness,  in  the  illumi 
nated  pages  of  "  Ligeia,"  "Morella"  and  "  Eleo- 
nora  "  lit  by  sepulchral  lamps,  wherein  every  footfall 
of  the  approach  of  "  The  Conqueror  Worm  "  is  de 
lineated  with  muffled  yet  magical  detail  ;  every  one  to 
whose  soul  have  penetrated  the  melodious  dirges  of 
"Ulalume,"  "Lenore,"  and  "  The  Raven,"  which 
assume  in  their  writhings  almost  the  agonizing  grace  of 
the  Laocoon,  must  realize,  faintly  indeed  yet  sympa 
thetically,  the  abysmal  grief  into  which  this  death  must 
have  plunged  the  greatest  Artist  of  Death  whom  the 
world  has  ever  seen,  the  man  who  most  keenly  and 
most  wonderfully  has  conjured  up  its  horrors  before  the 
quailing  imagination  and  made  them  stand,  instinct 
with  their  own  quivering  and  hideous  life,  before  the 
recoiling  eye  of  the  mind.  The  half-frantic  mood  of 
the  time  may  be  read  in  the  mystic  interlineations  of 
"  Ulalume,"  peeping  between  the  lines  of  this  mad 
yet  most  musical  autobiographic  poem  that  is  wreathed 
with  the  opiate  vapors  of  frenzy. 

"  Deprived  of  the  companionship  and  sympathy  of 
his  child- wife,"  writes  a  friendly  biographer,1  "the 
poet  suffered  what  to  him  was  the  exquisite  agony  of 
utter  loneliness.  Night  after  night  he  would  arise 
from  his  sleepless  pillow,  and,  dressing  himself,  wan 
der  to  the  grave  of  his  lost  one,  and  throwing  him 
self  down  upon  the  cold  ground,  weep  bitterly  for 
hours  at  a  time. 

"  The  same  haunting  dread  which  we  have  ven 
tured  to  ascribe  to  him  at  the  time  of  his  writing  '  The 
Raven,'  possessed  him  now,  and  to  such  a  degree  that 
he  found  it  impossible  to  sleep  without  the  presence  of 
some  friend  by  his  bedside.  Mrs.  Clemm,  his  ever- 

1  W.  F.  Gill,  Chatto  and  Windus,  London,  1878, 


devoted  friend  and  comforter,  more  frequently  fulfilled 
the  office  of  watcher.  The  poet,  after  retiring,  would 
summon  her,  and  while  she  stroked  his  broad  brow, 
he  would  indulge  his  wild  flights  of  fancy  to  the 
Aidenn  of  his  dreams.  He  never  spoke  nor  moved 
in  these  moments,  unless  the  hand  was  withdrawn 
from  his  forehead  ;  then  he  would  say,  with  childish 
naivete,  '  No,  no,  not  yet  !  '  —  while  he  lay  with 
half-closed  eyes. 

"  The  mother,  or  friend,  would  stay  by  him  until 
he  was  fairly  asleep,  then  gently  leave  him." 

The  excesses  to  which  the  ruptured  throat  of  his 
wife  had  impelled  him  in  Philadelphia,  and  all  through 
the  five  years  preceding  her  death,  with  their  alterna 
tions  of  hope  and  despair,  now  ended  in  a  settled 
gloom  that  threatened  his  reason  :  henceforth  Poe  was 
a  broken  man,  an  unstrung  harp  wildly  and  wistfully 
singing  of  things  long  gone  by,  a  "  seraph-harper  Is- 
rafel  "  that  had  lost  his  harp  or  sat  discrowned  and 
disconsolate  among  the  asphodels.  A  few  uneven 
things,  a  few  weird  and  beautiful  threnodies,  and  the 
great  prose-poem  tf  Eureka,"  were  practically  all 
that  Death  and  Grief  had  left  him  to  utter,  now  that 
the  inspiration  of  his  life  had  gone  and  the  home  of  his 
heart  was  built  up  against  her  tomb.  A  radiant  joy 
indeed  broke  fitfully  on  the  poet  late  in  these  latter 
years,  but  this,  too,  was  doomed  to  extinction,  and 
soon  hung,  like  his  trembling  Astarte,  directly  over  a 
grave.  The  excesses,  brought  on  by  extreme  anguish 
and  straitened  circumstances,  were  only  too  real  though 
never  habitual,  never  baccbanalia  of  mere  maudlin 
sensuality  such  as  one  reads  of  in  the  annals  of  drunken 
Elizabethans  :  they  were  the  ups  and  downs,  the  un 
even  tight-rope  walking  of  a  nature  trying  to  balance 

268  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

itself  amid  impossible  conditions  and  morbid  neurotic 
states,  wrung  from  its  natural  rectitude  by  overpower 
ing  temptation  to  seek  relief  in  stimulants  —  coffee, 
wine,  drugs,  opium,  anything  that  would  soothe  the 
intense  malaise.  Alas,  how  full  of  Verlaines  and  de 
Mussets  and  Baudelaires  the  world  has  been  —  men 
like  Poe,  endowed  writh  preternaturally  sensitive  nerves, 
unable  to  grapple  with  the  coarse  flesh -and -blood 
around  them,  pierced  on  all  sides  by  the  slings  and 
arrows  of  outrageous  fortune,  and  succumbing  at  last  to 
the  superincumbent  mass  of  misery. 

Poor  little  Virginia  lay  for  many  years  in  the  bor 
rowed  tomb,  but  now  at  last  rests  beside  her  husband 
in  Westminster  Church  grave-yard,  Baltimore,  under 
neath  the  Poe  monument. 




"  EUREKA." 

OWING  to  Mrs.  Shew' s  untiring  efforts,  Poe's  friends 
(including  General  Winfield  Scott)  raised  about  $100 
and  helped  to  pay  the  debts  incurred  by  long  illness. 
He  himself  seems  to  have  been  desperately  ill  and  un 
nerved  for  a  long  time  after  Virginia's  death  and  never 
really  recovered  from  the  shock.  A  famous  New  York 
physician  (Dr.  Mott)  diagnosed  the  case,  apparently 
agreeing  with  Mrs.  Shew  (who  had  been  medically 
educated  and  was  a  doctor's  only  daughter),  that  Poe 
was  suffering  from  a  lesion  of  one  side  of  the  brain 
which  would  not  permit  him  to  use  stimulants  or  tonics 
without  producing  insanity. 

"I  did  not  feel  much  hope,"  says  the  lady  in  her 
diary,1  "  that  he  could  be  raised  up  from  brain  fever 
brought  on  by  extreme  suffering  of  mind  and  body  — 
actual  want  and  hunger,  and  cold  having  been  borne 
by  this  heroic  husband  in  order  to  supply  food,  medi 
cine,  and  comforts  to  his  dying  wife  —  until  exhaus 
tion  and  lifelessness  were  so  near  at  every  reaction  of 
the  fever,  that  even  sedatives  had  to  be  administered 
with  extreme  caution." 

He  clung  pathetically  to  the  little  Dutch  cottage,  went 
out  little  and  wrote  less  ;  and  yet  this  year  of  trouble 

1  Ingram,  II.,  115. 

270  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

is  the  one —  1847  —  in  which  his  great  prose-poem 
of  "  Eureka  "  began  to  dawn  on  him  as  he  walked 
the  piazza,  looked  out  on  the  immeasurable  "  field  of 
the  cloth  of  gold  "  of  stars,  and  speculated  eagerly  and 
philosophically  about  its  future.  Again  "  The  Stylus  " 

—  his  teasing  evil  genius  —  crops  up   and  impels  him 
to  lecture  and  work  for  funds  for  its  resuscitation. 

That  he  was  not  wholly  idle  this  almost  fatal  year, 
in  spite  of  the  long  and  depressing  illnesses  that  re 
peatedly  brought  him  to  death's  door,  may  be  seen 
from  the  following  unaddressed  MS.  letter  in  possession 
of  the  University  of  Virginia  : 

NEW  YORK,  August  10,  1847. 

DEAR  SIR,  —  Permit  me  to  thank  you,  in  the  first 
place,  very  sincerely,  for  your  considerate  kindness  to  me 
while  in  Philadelphia.  Without  your  aid,  at  the  precise 
moment  and  in  the  precise  manner  in  which  you  rendered 
it,  it  is  more  than  probable  that  I  should  not  now  be 
alive  to  write  you  this  letter.  Finding  myself  exceeding 
ill  —  so  much  so  that  I  had  no  hope  except  in  getting 
home  immediately  —  I  made  several  attempts  to  see  Mr. 
Graham,  and  at  last  saw  him  for  a  few  minutes  just  as  he 
was  about  returning  to  Cape  May.  He  was  very  friendly 

—  more  so  than  I  have  ever  known  him,  and  requested 
me  to   write   continuously  for  the  Mag.      As  you  were 
not  present,  however,  and  it  was  uncertain  when  I  could 
see  you,  I  obtained  an  advance  of  $10  from  Mr.  G.  in 
order  that  I  might  return  home  at  once  —  and  thinking  it, 
also,  more  proper  to  leave  you  time  in  which  to  look  over 
the  articles. 

I  would  be  deeply  obliged  if  you  could  now  give  me 
an  answer  respecting  them.  Should  you  take  both,  it 
would  render  me,  just  now,  the  most  important  service. 
I  owe  Mr.  G.  about  $50.  The  articles,  at  the  old  price 
($4  per  page),  will  come  to  $190  —  so  that,  if  you  write 


me  that  they  are  accepted,  I  propose  to  draw  on  Mr.  G. 
for  $40  —  thus  squaring  our  account. 

P.  S,  — I  settled  my  bill  with  Arbuckle   before  leav 
ing  Phil.,  but  am  not  sure  how  much  I  owe  yourself  for 
the  previous  bill,  etc. 
Please  let  me  know. 

Very  gratefully  your  friend, 


The  same  "immemorial  year"  was  sealed,  in  De 
cember,  with  the  anonymous  publication,  in  "  The 
American  Whig  Review,"  of  the  mystic  (f  Ulalume," 
reprinted  by  Willis,  at  Poe's  request,  in  "  The  Home 
Journal,"  with  remarks  on  its  "exquisitely  piquant 
and  skilful  exercise  of  rarity  and  niceness  of  lan 
guage,"  "  a  curiosity  in  philologic  flavor."  The 
"  Union  Magazine  "  had  rejected  the  poem,  as  other 
magazines  or  publishers  had  rejected  or  held  up  many 
of  Poe's  best  things  —  "The  Sleeper,"  "  The  Gold- 
Bug,"  "The  Bells,"  etc.,  and  the  "Tales"  in 
volume  form. 

Poe's  work  was  so  strange,  so  extraordinary,  so 
original  as  it  towered  and  sparkled  in  columnar  beauty 
amid  the  flat  commonplace  of  the  time,  that  it  is  no 
wonder  if  editors  were  startled  and  looked  askance,  as 
they  looked  askance  at  "Jane  Eyre,"  at  Carlyle's 
"French  Revolution,"  at  Lamardne's  "Jacqueline." 
j  Willis  was  one  of  the  few  editors  of  the  time  who  ap 
preciated  Poe  at  his  exact  value,  and  gave  him  un 
stinted  praise  to  the  last.  The  rest  gazed  at  him  — 
Graham,  and,  it  may  be,  Lowell  excepted  —  as  one 
might  imagine  the  aborigines  of  Nubia  gazing  at  the 
gorgeous  bark  of  Cleopatra  as  it  swept  flashing  down 
the  Nile  with  all  its  oriental  splendor  and  paraphernalia, 
a  vision  of  light,  perfume,  and  beauty. 

272  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

Dark  as  the  year  preceding  this  had  been,  it  had 
shot  a  ray  of  sunshine  athwart  the  poet's  path  before 
Virginia's  death  in  the  shape  of  hearty  recognition 
abroad.  About  the  time  the  Godey  sketches  were 
running  out,  and  literary  Manhattan  began  to  breathe 
a  sigh  of  relief,  the  "  Revue  des  Deux  Mondes" 
printed  a  highly  appreciative  review  of  the  Tales  of 
1845,  which  was  followed  by  Mme.  Gabrielle  Men- 
nier's  translation  of  the  best  of  them.  A  disgraceful 
squabble  indeed  had  arisen  between  two  Parisian 
papers  —  "Le  Commerce  "  and  "  La  Quotidienne  " 
—  soon  after  the  publication  of  "  The  Murders  in  the 
Rue  Morgue,"  in  April,  1841,  in  which  it  was 
shown  that  "  Le  Commerce  "  had  stolen  Poe's  tale 
from  the  "  Charivari,"  and  republished  it  as  an 
original  feuilleton  under  the  title  of  "  L'Orang-Otang." 
This,  in  turn,  was  stolen  by  "  La  Quotidienne  " 
and  transferred  to  its  columns ;  whereupon  a  lawsuit 
ensued,  when  the  source  of  the  theft  was  shown  to  be 
Poe's  tale  published  shortly  before  in  "Graham's." 

And  now,  recently,  a  writer  in  "  Notes  and 
Queries"  (May  12,  1894)  comes  forward  to  show 
that  Poe  probably  stole  his  tale  from  an  incident  re 
corded  in  the  "  Shrewsbury  Chronicle,"  apropos  of 
"  a  ribbon-faced  baboon "  that  had  been  taught  to 
"burgle"  !  "The  Case  of  M.  Valdemar "  was 
traced  to  one  Miss  Prevorst,  the  "  William  Wilson  " 
to  "The  Man  with  Two  Lives"  (Boston,  1829), 
and  to  Calderon  ;  the  germ  of  "  Metzengerstein  " 
was  discovered  in  tf  Vivian  Grey,"  "  Three  Sundays 
in  a  Week"  comes  from  Herschel's  "Astronomy," 
"  Hans  Pfaall  "  is  a  free  paraphrase  of  current  scien 
tific  works,  and  Bulwer  and  Disraeli  have  been  abun 
dantly  plundered  for  the  rest  ! 


Other  rays  of  sunshine  that  fell  before  he  died  into 
his  darkened  life  were  the  vogue  and  republication  of 
some  of  his  tales  in  England —  "The  Fall  of  the 
House  of  Usher/'  in  "Bentley's,"  "  The  Purloined 
Letter,"  in  Chambers'  "  Edinburgh  Journal,"  "  Mes 
meric  Revelation  "and  "  The  Case  of  M.  Valdemar," 
in  the  London  "  Popular  Record  of  Modern  Science," 
and,  of  course,  the  Poems  of  1845. 

Poe's  transatlantic  reputation  may,  indeed,  as  Pro 
fessor  Trent l  justly  remarks,  be  regarded  as  a  test  of 
his  value  as  a  writer  :  "  It  is  quite  plain  thatPoe  is  con 
sidered  by  competent  European  critics  to  be  the  greatest 
author  America  has  yet  produced.  His  tales  at  least 
have  been  translated  into  all  the  chief  languages,  and 
have  been  widely  read  and  more  or  less  imitated.  His 
poems,  if  less  well  known,  have  perhaps  been  even 
more  influential, —  their  melody,  their  weirdness,  their 
ideality  having  affected  in  considerable  measure  most 
modern  lyrical  poetry.  .  .  .  With  the  partial  excep 
tion  of  Cooper,  Poe  is  practically  the  only  American 
since  Franklin  who  has  been  accorded  sincere  and 
widespread  homage  in  Europe  for  intellectual  achieve 
ments  other  than  scientific  —  who  has,  in  other  words, 
been  recognized  as  one  of  the  world's  master  writers. 
Irving,  Longfellow,  Hawthorne,  and  other  American 
authors  have  indeed  been  cordially  received  by  British 
readers;  but  this  is  not  the  same  thing  as  breaking 
down  the  barriers  of  language  and  winning  the  ap 
plause  of  the  whole  civilized  world." 

It  is  an  astounding  circumstance  that  a  mind  so  ap 
parently  wrecked  as  Poe's  was  all  through  the  weary 
months  of  1847  —  months  hyphened  together  by 

1  "  Poe's  Rank  as  a  Writer,"  East  and  West,  Aug.  1900. 
VOL.  I.  — 18 

274  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

unalterable  gloom  from  the  death  of  Virginia,  in  Janu 
ary,  to  the  apparition  on  the  December  horizon  of  the 
fantastic  flame  of"  Ulalume  "  —  could  have  recovered 
vitality  or  even  vivacity  enough  to  meditate  upon  the 
deep  themes  of  "Eureka,"  of  the  cosmogony  of 
the  Universe,  of  the  destiny  of  the  human  soul  and 
the  fate  of  the  circumambient  matter ;  but  so  it  was. 

Poe's  argumentative  faculty  attained  perhaps  its 
highest  expression  in  "Eureka":  the  theme,  in  itself 
so  abstract,  so  transcendental,  burns  and  glows  with  a 
concrete  radiance  that  seems  to  convince  the  reader 
that  it  is  true  light  and  not  quagmire  phosphorescence  ; 
the  suppleness  of  the  poet's  tongue  never  abandons 
him  as  he  climbs  the  empyrean  in  his  Excelsior  flight 
and  forces  one  stronghold  after  another  of  retreating 
Deity,  talking  volubly  of  Newton,  Kepler,  and  La 
Place  the  while,  until  at  last  "Eureka!"  bursts  from 
his  lips  and  he  fancies  he  has  found  the  Eternal. 

Having  worked  the  book  out  through  the  long  and 
hollow  hours  of  1 847  —  hollow  from  the  full  life  of 
his  sweet  Virginia  having  left  him  —  he  was  ready 
with  it  as  a  lecture  in  the  early  months  of  1848.  His 
hope  was  to  rent  a  hall  and  secure  an  audience  of 
three  or  four  hundred  persons  who  would  pay  him 
sufficiently  to  start  on  a  lecturing  tour  in  the  interests 
of  "  The  Stylus  "  —  which  now  again  sweeps  up  to 
the  surface  like  the  drowned  face  of  Delacroix's 
maiden.  Instead  of  three  or  four  hundred,  sixty  per 
sons  assembled  in  the  hall  of  the  Society  Library,  New 
York,  and  shivered  through  three  hours  of  a  bleak 
February  night,  listening,  as  one  of  them  reported,  to 
a  "  rhapsody  of  the  most  intense  brilliancy.  Poe  ap 
peared  inspired,  and  his  inspiration  affected  the  scant 
audience  almost  painfully.  His  eyes  seemed  to  glow 


like  those  of  his  own  '  Raven. '  :  His  true  friend, 
Willis,  so  often  abused  as  a  mere  dilettante  dandy  of 
literature,  helped  in  this  project  as  in  so  many  others 
relating  to  Poe,  and  did  what  he  could  to  further  it : 
"  My  general  aim  is  to  start  a  Magazine  [magazines, 
in  that  virgin  soil  and  time  were  burgeoning  all  over 
the  country]  to  be  called  the  'Stylus,'  "  he  wrote; 
"  but  it  would  be  useless  to  me,  even  when  established, 
if  not  entirely  out  of  the  control  of  a  publisher.  With 
this  end  in  view,  I  must  get  a  list  of,  at  least,  500 
subscribers  to  begin  with  :  —  nearly  200  I  have  al 
ready.  I  propose,  however,  to  go  South  and  West, 
among  my  personal  and  literary  friends — old  college 
and  West  Point  acquaintances  —  and  see  what  I  can 
do.  In  order  to  get  the  means  of  taking  the  first  step, 
I  propose  to  lecture  at  the  [New  York  Historical]  So 
ciety  Library  on  Thursday,  the  3rd  of  February  — 
and  that  there  may  be  no  cause  of  squabbling  my  sub 
ject  shall  not  be  literary  at  all.  I  have  chosen  a  broad 
text  —  «  The  Universe.'  ' ' 

The  Lyceum  system  of  lecturing  so  entertainingly  , 
described  by  Edward  Everett  Hale  in  recent  chapters 
of  "James  Russell  Lowell  and  his  Friends,"  was  just 
then  beginning  its  popular  and  fashionable  career  in 
New  York  and  New  England,  and  intelligent  men  and 
women  were  flocking  to  the  lecture  courses  with  pencil 
and  note-book,  eager  to  take  down  the  words  of  inspir 
ation  as  they  dropped  from  the  lips  of  eloquent 
speakers.  The  Lowell  foundation  was  one  of  the  re 
sults  of  the  movement  which,  according  to  Dr.  Hale, 
was  a  sort  of  spill-over,  protest  or  expansion  from  the 
Sunday  lecture,  secular  topics,  however  dramatic  or 
useful,  not  being  allowed  (as  was  right)  in  the  Sunday 

276  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

Not  disheartened  at  his  poor  success  nor  at  the  ab 
surdly  caricatured  accounts  of  the  lecture  in  the  public 
prints,  Poe  went  bravely  to  work  and  wrote  out  the 
theory  in  book  form,  offering  it,  with  flashing  eyes  and 
exuberant  enthusiasm,  to  Mr.  Putnam,  the  publisher 
of  two  of  his  books.  He  suggested  an  edition  of  50,- 
ooo  ;  Mr.  Putnam  listened  attentively,  and  ventured 
upon  an  edition  of —  500. 

The  title,  preface,  etc.,  are  as  follows  (we  quote 
from  a  copy  of  the  original  edition)  :  — 

Eureka:  |  A    Prose    Poem,  |  by  |  Edgar  A.  Poe.  | 
New  York:  |  Geo.  P.  Putnam,  |  of  late  Firm  of  "Wiley 
and  Putnam,"  |   155  Broadway.  |  MDCCCXLVIII. 
With  very  Profound  Respect,  |  This  Work  is  Dedicated  j 
to  |  Alexander  Von  Humboldt. 

Preface.  —  To  the  few  who  love  me  and  whom  I 
love  —  to  those  who  feel  rather  than  to  those  who 
think  —  to  the  dreamers  and  those  who  put  faith  in 
dreams  as  in  the  only  realities  —  I  offer  this  Book  of 
Truths,  not  in  its  character  of  Truth-Teller,  but  for 
the  Beauty  that  abounds  in  its  Truth  ;  constituting  it 
true.  To  these  I  present  the  composition  as  an  Art- 
Product  alone  :  —  let  us  say  as  a  Romance  ;  or,  if  I 
be  not  urging  too  lofty  a  claim,  as  a  Poem. 

What  I  here  propound  is  true :  —  therefore  it  can 
not  die :  —  or  if  by  any  means  it  be  now  trodden 
down  so  that  it  die,  it  will  "rise  again  to  the  Life 

Nevertheless  it  is  as  a  Poem  only  that  I  wish  this 
work  to  be  judged  after  I  am  dead.  E.  A.  P. 

The  book  is  bound  in  boards  and  contains  about 
136  pages  of  text,  outside  of  the  preface,,  dedication, 


and  title-page.  What  Poe  himself  considered  the  gist 
of  "Eureka"  may  be  gathered  from  the  following 
letter  :  — 

NEW  YORK,    February    29,    1848. 

GEO.  E.  ISBELL,  ESQ.  : 

DEAR  SIR,  —  A  press  of  business  has  hitherto  prevented 
me  from  replying  to  your  letter  of  the  loth.  "The  Ves 
tiges  of  Creation  "  I  have  not  yet  seen  ;  and  it  is  always 
unsafe  and  unwise  to  form  opinions  of  books  from  reviews 
of  them.  The  extracts  of  the  work  which  have  fallen  in 
my  way  abound  in  inaccuracies  of  fact  ;  still  these  may 
not  materially  affect  the  general  argument.  One  thing  is 
certain  j  that  the  objections  of  merely  scientific  men  — 
men,  I  mean,  who  cultivate  the  physical  sciences  to  the 
exclusion,  in  a  greater  or  less  degree,  of  the  mathematics, 
of  metaphysics  and  logic  — are  generally  invalid  except 
in  respect  to  scientific  details.  Of  all  persons  in  the 
world,  they  are  at  the  same  time  the  most  bigoted  and 
the  least  capable  of  using,  generalizing  or  deciding  upon 
the  facts  which  they  bring  to  light  in  the  course  of  their 
experiments.  And  these  are  the  men  who  chiefly  write 
the  criticisms  against  all  efforts  at  generalization  —  de 
nouncing  these  efforts  as  "  speculative11  and  "theoretical." 

The  notice  of  my  lecture,  which  appeared  in  the  "  New 
\Vorld,"  was  written  by  some  one  grossly  incompetent 
to  the  task  which  he  undertook.  No  idea  of  what  I  said 
can  be  gleaned  from  either  that  or  any  other  of  the  news 
paper  notices  —  with  the  exception,  perhaps,  of  the  "  Ex 
press"  —  where  the  critique  was  written  by  a  gentleman  of 
much  scientific  acquirement,  Mr.  E.  A.  Hopkins,  of 
Vermont.  I  enclose  you  his  report,  which,  however,  is 
inaccurate  in  numerous  particulars.  He  gives  my  general 
conception  so,  at  least,  as  not  to  caricature  it. 

I  have  not  yet  published  the  lecture,  but,  when  I  do 
so,  will  have  the  pleasure  of  mailing  you  a  copy.  In  the 
meantime,  permit  me  to  state  succinctly  my  principal 

278  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

GENERAL  PROPOSITION.  Because  nothing  was,  there 
fore  all  things  are. 

1.  An  inspection  of  the  universality  of  gravitation  — 
of  the  fact  that  each  particle  tends  not  to  any  one  com 
mon  point,  but   to  every  other  particle,  suggests   perfect 
totality  of  absolute  unity  as  the  source  of  the  phenomenon. 

2.  Gravity  is  but  the  mode  in  which  is  manifested   the 
tendency  of  all  things  to  return  into  their  original  unity. 

3.  I  show  that  the   law  of  the  return  —  ;.  e.,  the   law 
of  gravity  —  is  but   a  necessary  result  of  the  necessary 
and  sole  possible  mode  of  equable  irradiation  of  matter 
through  a  limited  space. 

4.  Were    the    universe    of    stars  (contradistinguished 
from  the  universe  of  space)  unlimited,  no  worlds   could 

5.  I  show  that  unity  is  nothingness. 

6.  All    matter,    springing    from    unity    sprang    from 
nothingness,   /.  e. ,  was    created. 

7.  All  will  return  to  unity,  /'.  e. ,  to  nothingness. 

I  would  be  obliged  to  you  if  you  would  let  me  know 
how  far  these  ideas  are  coincident  with  those  of  the 
"  Vestiges." 

Very  resp'y  yr.  ob.  st., 


He  had  opened  the  discussion  with  words  almost  as 
solemn  as  the  chords  which  prelude  some  divine  sym 
phony:  "Eureka:  an  Essay  on  the  Material  and 
Spiritual  Universe. 

"  It  is  with  humility  really  unassumed  —  it  is  with 
a  sentiment  even  of  awe  —  that  I  pen  the  opening  sen 
tence  of  this  work  :  for  of  all  conceivable  subjects  I 
approach  the  reader  with  the  most  solemn  —  the  most 
comprehensive  —  the  most  difficult  —  the  most  au 

"  What   terms   shall    I   find   sufficiently    simple   in 


their  sublimity  —  sufficiently  sublime  in  their  simplic 
ity  —  for  the  mere  enunciation  of  my  theme  ? 

"  I  design  to  speak  of  the  Physical,  Metaphysical 
and  Mathematical — of  the  Material  and  Spiritual 
Universe :  —  of  its  Essence,  its  Origin,  its  Creation, 
its  Present  Condition  and  its  Destiny.  I  shall  be  so 
rash,  moreover,  as  to  challenge  the  conclusions,  and 
thus,  in  effect,  to  question  the  sagacity,  of  many  of  the 
greatest  and  most  justly  reverenced  of  men." 

Poe  was  a  great  admirer  of  Humboldt's  "  Cosmos," 
and  he  therefore  dedicates  to  its  author  his  famous 
tract  "  De  Natura  Rerum."  Lucretius  had  written  a 
wonderful  poem  in  Latin  hexameters  on  this  topic, 
astonishing  the  ancient  world  by  his  elevated  Epicure 
anism  and  passionate  enthusiasm  for  what  was  true  ; 
and  there  is  more  than  one  striking  analogy  between 
the  Roman  and  the  American.  Both,  in  their  poems, 
were  passionate  inconoclasts,  idealists,  dreamers  of  the 
speculative  philosophies  that  looked  into  the  causes  of 
things  ;  both  set  aside  what  they  considered  the  degrad 
ing  superstitions,  and  reinstated  Divinity  in  its  rights. 
What  a  critic  has  well  called  "the  impassioned  solem 
nity  "  of  Lucretius,  is  the  religious,  the  almost  rever 
ential,  spirit  with  which  Poe  approaches  the  problem 
of  the  Universe.  Both  are  refined  materialists  of  an 
almost  spiritual  type.  Lucretius' s  object  was  to  clear 
the  mind  from  the  fear  of  the  gods  and  the  terrors  of 
a  future  state,  endeavoring  to  "show  that  the  world 
is  not  governed  by  capricious  agency,  but  has  come 
into  existence,  continues  in  existence,  and  will  ulti 
mately  pass  away  in  accordance  with  the  primary 
conditions  of  the  elemental  atoms  which,  along  with 
empty  space,  are  the  only  eternal  and  immutable  sub 
stances.  That  atoms  are  themselves  infinite  in  num.- 

280  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

ber,  but  limited  in  their  varieties,  and  by  their  ceaseless 
movement  and  combinations  during  infinite  time  and 
through  infinite  space  the  whole  process  of  creation  is 
maintained."  Poe's  object  was  not  far  different  from 
Lucretius' s  in  his  abhorrence  of  superstition;  and  all 
that  the  critic  has  to  say  about  Lucretius' s  power  of 
reasoning  —  the  subtlety  and  fertility  of  invention  with 
which  he  applies  analogies,  the  keenness  and  clearness 
of  his  observation,  the  consecutive  force,  precision, 
and  distinction  of  his  style  as  employed  in  the  processes 
of  scientific  exposition,  are  as  if  written  of  Poe.  The 
Roman  went  mad  from  a  love-philtre  and  committed 
suicide  in  his  forty-fourth  year  ;  the  mixed  elements 
of  Poe's  life  —  his  dangerous  deliriums,  his  passionate 
loves,  hates,  and  adorations  —  brought  him  very  near 
to  Lucretius' s  fate.  And  both  threw  their  sublime 
speculations  into  poem-form,  the  one  into  six  or  seven 
thousand  sonorous  Latin  lines  that  roll  majestically  as 
ocean-surges  on  the  shore,  the  other  into  a  brilliant 
monologue  which,  but  for  the  ill-judged  burlesque 
element  at  its  beginning,  might  be  an  oratorio  of  the 




MRS.    WHITMAN.      "THE  BELLS;"   MRS.    OSGOOD. 

(t  HELEN  —  my  Helen — the  Helen  of  a  thousand 
dreams  !  " 

Such  are  the  words,  in  one  of  Poe's  impassioned 
letters  to  Mrs.  Sarah  Helen  Whitman,  which  from 
now  on  form  the  key-note  of  his  existence,  an  exist 
ence  in  which  the  love  of  woman,  the  adoration  of 
the  Womanly,  had  always  formed  an  essential  part. 
Starting  with  his  devotion  to  the  gentle  Mrs.  Allan, 
and  to  Mrs.  Stanard,  continuing  with  his  adoration 
of  his  child-wife,  and  of  his  "more  than  mother,'*  >s/i 
concentrating  into  affectionate  admiration  for  Mrs. 
Shew  and  Mrs.  Osgood,  all  the  love  that  was  now 
left  in  Poe's  volcanic  nature  rose  to  brief  fever-heat  in 
the  passion  for  the  beautiful  and  spiritual  New  Eng 
land  soul  that  had 

"  Come  up  through  the  lair  of  the  Lion, 
With  love  in  her  luminous  eyes," 

and  smiled  at  him  over  the  "legended  tomb  "  of  the 
lost  Ulalume. 

Rarely  gifted  as  a  poet  herself,  accomplished  in  many 
literatures,  imbued  with  the  culture  of  France  and 
Germany,  and  tracing  descent  from  an  ancient  Celtic- 

282  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

Norman  stock  to  which  she  believed  Foe's  lineage  also 
ran  up,  Sarah  Helen  Power  was  born  in  Providence, 
Rhode  Island,  January  19  (Poe's  birthday),  1803, 
and  died  June  27,  1878. 1  "  Marrying  John  W. 
Whitman,  a  lawyer  of  Boston,  in  1828,  she  was  left 
a  widow  by  his  death  in  1833.  Betrothed  to  Edgar 
/  Poe,  in  1848,  a  few  months  before  his  death,  the 
engagement  was  broken,  on  the  eve  of  the  marriage, 
by  the  interference  of  friends.  The  early  life  of  the 
poet  was  shadowed  by  the  long  absence  of  her  father, 
and  her  later  years  were  almost  wholly  devoted  to  a 
sister,  left  her  in  sacred  charge  by  her  mother.  The 
poem  '  In  Memoriam '  is  the  requiem  of  this  sister. 
This  poem,  Mrs.  Whitman's  last,  has  all  the  intel 
lectual  vigor  of  youth,  though  written  at  the  age  of 
seventy-five.  The  freshness  of  her  spirit  and  the 
charm  of  her  presence  were  not  lost  in  the  vicissitudes 
of  a  life  of  strange  and  romantic  experience.  No 
one  ever  associated  with  her  the  idea  of  age.  She  is 
represented  as  lying  beautiful  as  a  bride  in  death,  her 
brown  hair  scarcely  touched  with  gray. 

"...  Mrs.  Whitman's  poems,  to  an  unusual 
degree,  illustrate  the  author's  life.  By  her  direction 
the  poems  relating  to  Edgar  Poe  .  .  .  have  been 
grouped  together,  though  not  placed  under  a  separate 
head.  To  this  group  belong  'Remembered  Music,' 
'  Our  Island  of  Dreams,'  '  The  Last  Flowers,'  '  Song,' 
'Withered  Flowers,'  'The  Phantom  Voice,'  'Arc- 
turus  in  October,'  '  Resurgemus,'  the  six  'Sonnets 

To ,'    'Arcturus  in  April,'  and  'The  Portrait.' 

"  In  1 860  Mrs.  Whitman  published  the  little  book, 
'  Edgar  Poe  and  his  Critics,'  of  which  Curtis  wrote  in 

1  We  quote  by  permission  the  Introduction  to   "Poems  :     By 
Sarah  Helen  Whitman"  :    Houghton,  Osgood  &  Co.,  1879. 


'Harper's  Weekly'  :  'In  reading  the  exquisitely 
tender,  subtle,  sympathetic,  and  profoundly  apprecia 
tive  sketch  of  Edgar  Poe,  which  has  just  been  issued 
under  this  title,  it  is  impossible  not  to  remember  the 
brave  woman's  arm,  thrust  through  the  slide  to  serve 
as  a  bolt  against  the  enemy.  .  .  .  The  author,  with 
an  inexpressible  grace,  reserve,  and  tender,  heroic 
charity,  —  having  a  right  which  no  other  person  has 
to  speak,  —  tells  in  a  simple,  transparent,  and  quiet 
strain,  what  she  thinks  of  his  career  and  genius. '  3 

In  18543  small  volume  of  Mrs.  Whitman's  poems, 
entitled  "Hours  of  Life,"  appeared  in  Providence,  and 
received  a  warm  welcome  from  George  Ripley, 
Curtis,  and  others  ;  and  this,  in  1879,  was  followed 
by  her  collected  Poems  in  the  edition  from  which  we 
make  these  extracts. 

It  is  impossible,  in  looking  over  these  poems,  not 
to  be  struck  by  their  Poesque  diction,  music,  and 
idiosyncrasy,  as  of  a  kindred  soul  caught  by  the  spell 
of  an  overmastering  genius.  "  The  Golden  Ball  "  is 

musically  reminiscent  of  "  The  Raven  "  ;  "  To " 

has  grown  out  of  the  magic  root  of  "  To  Helen  "  ; 
the  poems  in  memory  of  Poe  are  impassioned  dirges, 
kindling  with  cadences  of  "  beauty,  majesty,  and  woe  " 
that  sweep  from  out  the  chords  of  the  seraph  harp  of 
Israfel.  Full  of  delicacy,  spontaneity,  appreciation  of 
Nature,  and  mastery  over  rhythm,  these  poems  pre 
sent  a  spirit  of  rare  sweetness  and  refinement,  and  it  is 
no  wonder  that  they  caught  Poe's  eye  and  soul,  and 
drew  from  him  enthusiastic  praise  in  a  lecture  on 
"The  Female  Poets  of  America."  In  1849  Mrs. 
Whitman  addressed  to  him  the  following  lines  ; 

284  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 



"Our  stars  look  through  the  storm." 

STAR  of  resplendent  front  !  thy  glorious  eye 
Shines  on  me  still  from  out  yon  clouded  sky,  — 
Shines  on  me  through  the  horrors  of  a  night 
More  drear  than  ever  fell  o'er  day  so  bright,  — 
Shines  till  the  envious  Serpent  slinks  away, 
And  pales  and  trembles  at  thy  steadfast  ray. 

Hast  thou  not  stooped  from  heaven,  fair  star  !  to  be 

So  near  me  in  this  hour  of  agony  ?  — 

So  near, —  so  bright,  —  so  glorious,  that  I  seem 

To  lie  entranced  as  in  some  wondrous  dream, — 

All  earthly  joys  forgot,  —  all  earthly  fear, 

Purged  in  the  light  of  thy  resplendent  sphere  : 

Kindling  within  my  soul  a  pure  desire 

To  blend  with  thine  its  incandescent  fire, — 

To  lose  my  very  life  in  thine,  and  be 

Soul  of  thy  soul  through  all  eternity. 

The  occasion  of  Poe's  first  sight  of  Mrs.  Whitman 
is  romantically  described  as  follows  : 

(t  Poe  caught  a  glimpse  of  a  white  figure  wandering 
in  a  moonlit  garden  in  Providence,  '  on  his  way 
from  Boston,  when  he  visited  that  city  to  deliver  a 
poem  before  the  Lyceum  there.  Restless,  near  mid 
night,  he  wandered  from  his  hotel  near  where  she 
lived,  until  he  saw  her  walking  in  a  garden.  He 
related  the  incident  afterwards  in  one  of  his  most  ex 
quisite  poems,  worthy  of  himself,  of  her,  and  of  the 
most  exalted  passion.'  " 


These  lines  begin : 

"  I  saw  thee  once  —  once  only  —  years  ago  : 

I  must  not  say  how  many  —  but  not  many. 

It  was  a  July  midnight  ;  and  from  out 

A  full-orbed  moon,  that,  like  thine  own  soul  soaring, 

Sought  a  precipitate  pathway  up  through  heaven, 

There  fell  a  silvery  silken  veil  of  light, 

With  quietude,  and  sultriness,  and  slumber, 

Upon  the  upturned  faces  of  a  thousand 

Roses  that  grew  in  an  enchanted  garden, 

Where  no  wind  dared  to  stir,  unless  on  tip-toe. 

Clad  all  in  white,  upon  a  violet  bank 

I  saw  thee  half-reclining  ;  while  the  moon 

Fell  on  the  upturned  faces  of  the  roses, 

And  on  thine  own,  upturned  —  alas,  in  sorrow  ! 

"Was  it  not  Fate,  that,  on  this  July  midnight  — 
Was  it  not  Fate  (whose  name  is  also  Sorrow) 
That  bade  me  pause  before  that  garden-gate 
To  breathe  the  incense  of  those  slumbering  roses  ?  " 

The  lady  in  1 847—48  addressed  an  anonymous 
Valentine  to  the  author  of  "  The  Raven";  in  the 
summer  or  early  fall  of  1 848  the  two  met  at  her 
mother's  house,  Poe  carrying  a  letter  of  introduction 
from  the  authoress,  Maria  Mclntosh.  Always  looking 
for  the  mystic  and  the  improbable,  the  poet  believed, 
from  the  agreement  of  name  between  this  Helen  and 
the  one  he  had  so  musically  worshipped  in  his  far-off 
boyish  days,  that  there  was  a  pre-ordained  connection 
between  their  fates.  "  I  yielded  at  once,"  he  writes, 
"  to  an  overwhelming  sense  of  Fatality.  From  that  hour 

286  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

I  have  never  been  able  to  shake  from  my  soul  the  be 
lief  that  my  Destiny,  for  good  or  for  evil,  either  here 
or  hereafter,  is  in  some  measure  interwoven  with  your 

One  must  turn  to  the  most  glowing  letters  of 
Abelard  and  Eloiise,  or  to  the  "Sonnets  from  the  Por 
tuguese  ' '  for  the  fire,  the  urgency,  the  consuming 
thirst  to  be  loved  that  burn  and  glow  in  Poe's  letters 
of  this  period  —  a  period  of  new-risen  Hope,  of  resur 
rection  from  a  dead  self,  of  rebirth  into  an  existence 
that  began  to  shimmer  with  the  new  leaves  and  new 
light  of  a  dawning  spring  after  the  autumnal  blasts 
and  blights  of  the  months  just  gone  by.  The  eager, 
tremulous,  stormy  joy  of  these  new  weeks  and  months 
is  prophetic  of  the  new  Poe  that  was  about  to  be  born, 
or  that  might  have  been  born,  had  not  Disaster  inter 
vened  here,  as  at  every  important  crisis-moment  of  the 
poet's  life,  and  cried  Halt ! 

One  of  the  most  remarkable  incidents  in  this  remark 
able  summer  was  the  suggestion  and  composition  of 
"  The  Bells,"  the  second  of  the  great  brace  of  poems 
that  have  given  Poe  world-wide  celebrity.  The  poem 
was,  singularly  enough,  suggested  by  a  lady  who,  she 
confessed,  had  never  read  a  line  of  the  poet's  writings 
—  Mrs.  Shew,  the  guardian  angel  of  Fordham.  Busied 
Vin  philanthropic  work,  she  had  never  had  time  to  read 
/the  poems  of  Poe.  "One  day,"  says  Mr.  Ingram, 
"  he  came  in  and  said  :  '  Marie  Louise,  I  have  to 
write  a  poem  ;  I  have  no  feeling,  no  sentiment,  no 
inspiration.'  His  hostess  persuaded  him  to  have  some 
tea.  It  was  served  in  the  conservatory,  the  windows 
of  which  were  open,  and  admitted  the  sound  of  neigh 
boring  church  bells.  Mrs.  Shew  said,  playfully, 










r,^                                           ^                    ^ 

^                                     ^5                    ^ 

^b     ^o 

5i                         ^ 



^  - 



5"  ^ 

*%s       ^ 

5    ^ 






4  ^ 




Y       ^ 



**    ^    ^ 













^  , 










'  Here  is  paper/  but  the  poet,  declining  it,  declared  : 
'I  so  dislike  the   sound   of  bells  to-night,    I  cannot 
write.      I  have  no  subject  —  I  am  exhausted.'      The 
lady  then  took  up  the  pen,  and  pretending  to  mimic 
his  style,   wrote  'The  Bells,  by    E.   A.   Poe'  ;  and^ 
then   in   pure  sportiness,    'The  bells,  the  little  silver \/ 
bells,'  Poe   finishing  off  the  stanza.       She  then  sug- ' 
gested  for  the  next  verse   s  The   heavy  iron    bells  '  ; 
and  this  Poe  also  expanded  into  a  stanza.      He  next 
copied   out  the   complete  poem,  and  headed  it    '  By 
Mrs.  M.  L.  Shew,'    remarking  that  it  was  her  poem, 
as  she  had  suggested  and  composed  so  much  of  it.'7 

Such  was  the  germ  of  this  melodious  onomato-poem, 
the  most  perfect  imitation  in  word,  sound,  and 
rhythm,  in  suggestion,  in  exquisite  mimicry,  of  its 
theme  ever  written,  not  even  excepting  the  marvellous 
"  Les  Djinns  "  of  Victor  Hugo  or  the  "  Lodore  " 
of  Southey.  The  very  spirit — and  spirituality  —  the 
essence  and  aura  of  the  musical  bell-metal,  with  all  its 
golden  and  silver  and  brazen  tones,  seems  to  have 
flowed  into  the  poet's  soul  as  he  wrote,  and  to  have 
taken  tongues  never  before  so  musically  voiced,  not 
even  by  Schiller. 

"  The  Bells "  went  through  no  less  than  three 
transformations  before  it  reached  the  public  in  its  final 
form,  being  published  in  Sartain's  "  Union  Magazine  " 
for  November,  1849  (after  Poe's  death).  The  editor 
of  the  magazine  gave  the  following  account  of  its  evo 
lution  :  "The  singular  poem  of  Mr.  Poe's,  called 
'  The  Bells,'  which  we  published  in  our  last  num 
ber,  has  been  very  extensively  copied.  There  is  a 
curious  piece  of  literary  history  connected  with  this 
poem,  which  we  may  as  well  give  now  as  at  any 
other  time.  It  illustrates  the  gradual  development  of 

288  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

an  idea  in  the  mind  of  a  man  of  original  genius.  This 
poem  came  into  our  possession  about  a  year  since 
[consequently,  about  December,  1 848] .  It  then  con 
sisted  of  eighteen  lines  !  They  were  as  follows  : 


THE  bells !  —  hear  the  bells  ! 
The  merry  wedding-bells  ! 
The  little  silver  bells  ! 
How  fairy-like  a  melody  there  swells 
From  the  silver  tinkling  cells 
Of  the  bells,  bells,  bells  ! 
Of  the  bells! 

The  bells!— ah,  the  bells  ! 

The  heavy  iron  bells  ! 

Hear  the  tolling  of  the  bells  ! 

Hear  the  knells  ! 
How  horrible  a  monody  there  floats 

From  their  throats  — 

From  their  deep- toned  throats  ! 
How  I  shudder  at  the  notes 

From  the  melancholy  throats 
Of  the  bells,  bells,  bells ! 

Of  the  bells! 

"  About  six  months  after  this  we  received  the  poem 
enlarged  and  altered  nearly  to  its  present  size  and  form ; 
and  about  three  months  since,  the  author  sent  another 
alteration  and  enlargement,  in  which  condition  the 
poem  was  left  at  the  time  of  his  death." 

This  was  one  of  the  poems  which  Poe  was  accused 
of  selling  three  times  —  a  charge  indignantly  denied  by 
Mr.  Sartain  himself. 


Poe's  excited  condition  this  memorable  summer  — 
the  summer  that  Dr.  Francis  said  "he  has  heart-dis 
ease  and  must  die  young,"  as  he  looked  on  the  sleeping  V 
poet  — brought  his  devoted  friendship  with  Mrs.  Shew 
to  a  sudden  close  :  Mrs.  Shew  naturally  became  afraid 
of  her  gifted  patient,  who  could  sink  into  a  twelve- 
hours'  slumber,  and  not  know  that  he  had  slept ;  who 
was  liable  to  fits  of  overwhelming  depression  ;  the 
prey  of  melancholia,  evidently  near  the  last  stages  of 
cerebral  congestion,  and  possessed  by  a  world  of  weird  \ 
and  uncanny  thoughts.  The  rupture  was  a  very  natu 
ral  one  from  a  woman's  point  of  view  ;  and  yet  the 
lady  herself  has  been  handed  down  to  history  as  one 
of  the  four  "holy  women  "  who  stood  by  the  tomb 
and  defended  the  "resurrected"  poet  with  all  the 
eloquence  of  their  pens.  When  one  looks  into  the 
life-record  of  this  Pilgrim  of  Sorrow,  it  is  the  faces 
of  Mrs.  Shew,  Mrs.  Osgood,  Mrs.  Whitman,  and 
Mrs.  Weiss  that  peer  luminously  through  the  gloom, 
—  their  tender  and  beautiful  hands  that  hold  the  lamp 
illuminating  it, —  their  words  of  cheer,  of  comfort,  of 
recognition,  that  sound  across  the  abyss  and  stay  the 
harsh  voice  of  criticism,  —  their  ministering  remem 
brances  that  explain  much  and  put  much  in  its  true 

When  Horace  Greeley  heard  of  Poe's  contemplated 
marriage  to  Mrs.  Whitman,  he  wrote  to  Griswold  in 
January,  1 849  : 

"  Do    you    know    Sarah    Helen    Whitman  ?       Of 

course  you  have  heard  it  rumored  that  she  is  to  marry 

Poe.      Well,  she  has  seemed  to  me  a  good  girl,  and 

—  you  know  what  Poe  is.      Now  I  know  a  widow 

of  doubtful  age  will  marry  almost  any  sort  of  a  white 

man,    but   this   seems  to   me   a   terrible    conjunction. 

VOL.  i.  — 19 

290  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

Has  Mrs.  Whitman  no  friend  within  your  knowledge 
that  can  faithfully  explain  Poe  to  her  ?  I  never  at 
tempted  this  sort  of  thing  but  once,  and  the  net  pro 
duct  was  two  enemies  and  a  hastening  of  the  marriage  ; 
but  I  do  think  she  must  be  deceived.  Mrs.  Osgood 
must  know  her. ' ' 1 

Poe  had  once  borrowed  $50  of  Horace  Greeley, 
and  had  been  unable  to  repay  it :  the  matter  is  duly  — 
almost  gleefully  —  recorded  in  Greeley's  "Reminis 

The  story  of  Poe  and  Mrs.  Whitman  —  their 
strange  fascination  for  each  other  —  the  magnetism 
which  drew  their  poetic  natures  together  —  the 
breaches  and  reconciliations  and  interviews,  and 
stormy  and  reproachful  letters  —  is  a  modern  "Lei 
den  des  jungen  Werthers ' '  that  ended,  not  like  the 
story  of  Jerusalem  in  actual,  but  in  attempted,  sui 
cide  :  when  Mrs.  Whitman's  indecision  and  natural 
hesitancy  to  accept  his  love  continued,  Poe  was  driven 
to  laudanum,  and  tried  to  end  his  life.  Intimidated 
by  the  frightful  violence  of  her  lover  —  hoping  per 
haps  to  save  him  from  wilder  excesses — and  believing 

the  essential  goodness  and  refinement  of  his  nature 
—  she  at  length,  on  receiving  solemn  pledges  from 
Poe  not  to  yield  to  temptation,  consented  to  appoint  a 
day  for  the  marriage.  The  unhappy  man,  his  moral 
fibre  relaxed  by  disease,  the  victim  of  hereditary  pre 
dispositions,  destitute  of  will  and  of  self-control  since 
the  terrible  years  that  preceded  Virginia's  death, 
broken  in  constitution  and  in  health  from  the  awful 
vigils  by  her  bedside,  yielded  to  some  unknown  but 
irresistible  pressure  of  evil,  and  broke  his  pledges. 
The  friends  of  the  family  —  so  we  are  privately  as- 

1  Griswold's  Correspondence,  p.  249. 


From  an  engraving  by  Charles  Skinner,  after  a  painting 
by  C.  J.  Thompson.     Reproduced  by  permis 
sion  of  the  Whitman  heirs. 


their    poetic 




292  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

Mrs.  Whitman,  says  Ingram,  firmly  believed  that 
Poe  wrote  "Annabel  Lee  "  in  response  to  this  poem. 

The  story  of  the  lovely  spiritualist,  robed  always  in 
white,  and  of  her  spirit-like  habits  of  going  and  coming 
in  Shelleyan  wise,  is  said  to  have  suggested  to  Charles 
Dickens  a  character  in  one  of  his  famous  later  novels. 
One  who  evidently  knew  Mrs.  Whitman  well  writes 
in  the  New  York  "  Saturday  Times,"  October  25, 
1899:  ^ 

"This  tragedy  of  the  heart  colored  all  the  rest  of 
Sarah  Helen  Whitman's  life.  It  could  not  affect  her 
appreciation  of  Poe's  brilliant  powers,  nor  diminish 
her  love  of  his  finer  nature,  the  gentle,  winning  side, 
which  revealed  the  man  God  meant  him  to  be.  But 
it  cast  a  soft,  half-veiling  shadow  over  her.  She 
walked  the  rest  of  the  way  under  a  kindly  cloud  that 
seemed  to  protect  her  from  the  glaring  light  of  day  and 
save  her  from  the  scrutiny  of  prying  eyes.  She  seemed 
different  and  apart  from  other  women.  There  was 
about  her  something  mysterious  and  elusive.  As  she 
glided  softly  into  the  room,  she  brought  with  her  a 
dreamy,  other- world  atmosphere,  which  subdued  noisy 
laughter  or  idle  talk ;  and  when  she  spoke,  in  her  low, 
sweetly  modulated  voice,  others  listened.  Mrs. 
Whitman's  talk  was  always  worth  while;  whether  of 
poetry  or  politics,  of  every  day  affairs  or  spiritual 
things,  it  was  sure  to  be  interesting.  She  could  be 
merry,  too,  and  sarcastic  if  it  suited  the  occasion.  She 
had  flitting,  spirit-like  ways,  of  coming  softly  and  dis 
appearing  suddenly,  of  half  concealing  herself  behind  a 
curtain  and  peeping  out  as  she  joined  in  the  conversa 

"  Strictly  unconventional  in  the  matter  of  clothes, 
she  loved  silken  draperies,  lace  scarfs,  and  veils,  and 


seemed  to  be  always  lightly  shod.  At  one  time  she 
wore  constantly  around  her  throat  a  black  velvet  rib 
bon,  pinned  with  a  tiny  coffin  which  a  friend  had 
carved  for  her  in  some  dark-colored  wood,  and  this 
funereal  badge  she  seemed  to  prize  above  diamonds  or 
pearls.  She  liked  a  fan  in  her  hand  to  screen  her  eyes 
from  the  light,  and  her  own  pleasant  rooms  were  never 
glaring.  On  one  wall  hung  a  portrait  of  her  poet, 
hidden  by  a  silken  curtain.  It  had  his  wonderful  eyes. 
This  picture  was  the  subject  of  Mrs.  Whitman's  poem 
<  The  Portrait.'  " 

These  lines  (written  in  1870)  begin  : 

"  After  long  years  I  raised  the  folds  concealing 

That  face,  magnetic  as  the  morning's  beam: 
While  slumbering  memory  thrilled  at  its  revealing, 
Like  Memnon  wakening  from  his  marble  dream. 

"  Again  I  saw  the  brow's  translucent  pallor, 

The  dark  hair  floating  o'er  it  like  a  plume ; 
The  sweet,  imperious  mouth,  whose  haughty  valor 
Defied  all  portents  of  impending  doom  j ' ' 

and  they  end  with  the  stanza  on  our  title-page. 

The  "  Whitman  episode  ' '  is  closed  by  the  follow 
ing  letter  from  Mrs.  Whitman  herself  to  W.  F.  Gill, 
dated  August,  1873  ;1  "No  such  scene  as  that  de 
scribed  by  Dr.  Griswold  ever  transpired  in  my  presence. 
No  one,  certainly  no  woman,  who  had  the  slightest 
acquaintance  with  Edgar  Poe,  could  have  credited  the 
story  for  an  instant.  He  was  essentially  and  instinctively 
a  gentleman,  utterly  incapable,  even  in  moments  of  ex 
citement  and  delirium,  of  such  an  outrage  as  Dr.  Gris 
wold  has  ascribed  to  him.  No  authentic  anecdote  of 

1  Life  of  Poe;  Chatto  and  Windus  :  London:    1878,  p.  227, 

294  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

coarse  indulgence  in  vulgar  orgies  or  bestial  riot  has 
ever  been  recorded  of  him.  During  the  last  years  of 
his  unhappy  life,  whenever  he  yielded  to  the  tempta 
tion  that  was  drawing  him  into  its  fathomless  abyss,  as 
with  the  resistless  swirl  of  the  maelstrom,  he  always 
lost  himself  in  sublime  rhapsodies  on  the  evolution  of 
the  universe,  speaking  as  from  some  imaginary  plat 
form  to  vast  audiences  of  rapt  and  attentive  listeners. 
During  one  of  his  visits  to  this  city  [Providence],  in 
the  autumn  of  1 848,  I  once  saw  him  after  one  of  those 
nights  of  wild  excitement,  before  reason  had  fully  re 
covered  its  throne.  Yet  even  then,  in  those  frenzied 
moments  when  the  doors  of  the  mind's  '  Haunted 
Palace  '  were  left  unguarded,  his  words  were  the  words 
of  a  princely  intellect  overwrought,  and  of  a  heart  only 
too  sensitive  and  too  finely  strung.  I  repeat  that  no 
one  acquainted  with  Edgar  Poe  could  have  given  Dr. 
Griswold's  scandalous  anecdote  a  moment's  credence." 

The  whole  Petronius-like  scene  was  also  flatly 
contradicted  by  Mrs.  Whitman's  intimate  friend,  Wm. 
J.  Pabodie,  Esq.,  of  Providence,  in  the  "New  York 
Tribune"  for  June  2  and  n,  1852,  and  has  now 
been  thrown  aside  by  all  right-minded  people  as 
utterly  discredited. 

The  union  of  these  two  ethereal  natures — "the 
pale,  poetic  presence  "  of  the  one,  the  Ligeian  har 
mony  of  the  other  —  promised  indeed  to  be  of  ex 
quisite  fruition,  but  was  destined  never  to  be  fulfilled. 

The  coarse  rumors  of  drunken  intoxication,  of  ribald 
scenes  in  Mrs.  Whitman's  gardens  and  house,  and  of 
police  interference,  reported  by  various  biographers, 
have  thus  been  proved  to  be  absolutely  false,  as  they 
were  on  the  face  of  them  absolutely  impossible.  This 
one  can  see  from  the  testimony  of  another  woman  of 


genius  who  was  intimate  with  the  Foes,  and  whose 
noble  affection  dictated  some  of  the  warmest  words  in 
defence  of  the  poet  —  Mrs.  Frances  Sargent  Osgood. 

On  her  death-bed,  seven  months  after  Poe's  death, 
she  wrote : l 

"I  think  no  one  could  know  him  —  no  one  has 
known  him  personally  —  certainly  no  woman  —  with 
out  feeling  the  same  interest  [as  I  did].  I  can  sin 
cerely  say,  that  I  have  frequently  heard  of  aberrations 
on  his  part  from  the  'straight  and  narrow  path.'  I 
have  never  seen  him  otherwise  than  gentle,  generous,  ••. 
well  bred,  and  fastidiously  refined.  To  a  sensitive  and 
delicately  nurtured  woman,  there  was  a  peculiar  and  irre 
sistible  charm  in  the  chivalric,  graceful,  and  almost  ten 
der  reverence  with  which  he  invariably  approached  all 
women  who  won  his  respect.  It  was  this  which  first 
commanded  and  always  retained  my  regard  for  him. 

"  /  have  been  told  that  when  his  sorrows  and  pecu 
niary  embarrassments  had  driven  him  to  the  use  of 
stimulants,  which  a  less  delicate  organization  might 
have  borne  without  injury,  he  was  in  the  habit  of 
speaking  disrespectfully  of  the  ladies  of  his  acquaint 
ance.  It  is  difficult  for  me  to  believe  this ;  for  to  me, 
to  whom  he  came  during  the  year  of  our  acquaintance 
for  counsel  and  kindness  in  all  his  many  anxieties  and 
griefs,  he  never  spoke  irreverently  of  any  woman  save 
one,  and  then  only  in  my  defence ;  and  though  I  re 
buked  him  for  his  momentary  forgetfulness  of  the 
respect  due  to  himself  and  to  me,  I  could  not  but  for 
give  the  offence  for  the  sake  of  the  generous  impulse 
which  prompted  it.  Yet,  even  were  these  sad  rumors 
true  of  him,  the  wise  and  well-informed  knew  how  to 
regard,  as  they  would  the  impetuous  anger  of  a  spoiled 
1  Mrs.  Osgood  to  Griswold,  from  the  Griswold  Memoirs  of  Poe. 

296  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

infant,  baulked  of  its  capricious  will,  the  equally  harm 
less  and  unmeaning  phrensy  of  that  stray  child  of 
Poetry  and  Passion.  For  the  few  unwomanly  and 
slander-loving  gossips  who  have  injured  him  and  them 
selves  only  by  repeating  his  ravings,  when  in  such  moods 
they  have  accepted  his  society,  I  have  only  to  vouch 
safe  my  wonder  and  my  pity.  They  cannot  surely 
harm  the  true  and  pure,  who,  reverencing  his  genius 
and  pitying  his  misfortunes  and  his  errors,  endeavored 
by  their  timely  kindness  and  sympathy,  to  soothe  his 
sad  career. 

"  It  was  in  his  own  simple  yet  poetical  home,  that 
to  me  the  character  of  Edgar  Poe  appeared  in  its  most 
beautiful  light.  Playful,  affectionate,  witty,  alternately 
docile  and  wayward  as  a  petted  child  —  for  his  young, 
gentle,  and  idolized  wife,  and  for  all  who  came,  he 
had,  even  in  the  midst  of  his  most  harassing  duties,  a 
kind  word,  a  pleasant  smile,  a  graceful  and  courteous 
attention.  At  his  desk,  beneath  the  romantic  picture 
of  his  loved  and  lost  Lenore,  he  would  sit,  hour  after 
hour,  patient,  assiduous,  and  uncomplaining,  tracing  in 
an  exquisitely  clear  chirography,  and  with  almost  super 
human  swiftness,  the  lightning  thoughts  —  the  '  rare 
and  radiant '  fancies  —  as  they  flashed  through  his 
wonderful  and  ever- wakeful  brain." 

The  woman  referred  to  in  Mrs.  Osgood's  recollec 
tions  was  a  certain  Mrs.  Ellet,  who  made  herself 
notorious  by  meddling  in  Poe's  private  affairs  and 
following  him  with  relentless  persecution  when  he 
denounced  her.  It  seems  that  on  a  certain  occasion 
she  saw  a  letter  of  Mrs.  Osgood's  to  Poe  lying  open 
\  on  a  table,  read  it,  and  immediately  got  up  a  com 
mittee  of  ladies,  with  Margaret  Fuller  at  their  head,  to 
call  on  the  offending  poet  at  Fordham,  and  remon- 


strate.  Poe,  who  detested  both  Mrs.  Ellet  and 
Margaret  Fuller,  though  in  his  "  Literati "  he  did  full 
justice  to  the  genius  of  the  latter,  denounced  the  Paul 
Pry,  and  angrily  said  she  had  better  look  after  her  own 
correspondence.  This  brought  down  on  the  poet  a 
personal  difficulty  with  the  woman's  family  and  re 
sulted  in  a  world  of  slanders,  lies,  and  abuse  heaped 
on  his  devoted  head. 

In  a  letter  only  lately  accessible  through  the  pub 
lication  of  the  Griswold  Correspondence  (p.  256), 
Mrs.  Osgood  in  a  letter  referring  to  these  slanders  and 
the  whole  painful  episode  of  her  correspondence  with 
and  friendship  for  Poe,  writes  to  Griswold  in  1850  : 

"I  trust  you  will  write  that  life  of  Poe  [she  never 
saw  the  Life  after  it  was  written!].  I  will  do  as  you 
wished  :  I  will  write,  as  far  as  is  proper,  in  a  letter  to 
you,  my  reminiscences  of  that  year  [apparently  1846— 
47],  and  try  to  make  it  interesting  and  dignified,  and 
you  in  introducing  it  by  one  single  sentence  can  put 
down  at  once  my  envious  calumniators.  You  have 
the  proof  in  Mrs.  Poe's  letter  to  me,  and  in  bis  to 
Mrs.  Ellet,  either  of  which  would  fully  establish  my 
innocence  in  a  court  of  justice —  certainly  hers  would. 
Neither  of  them,  as  you  know,  were  persons  likely  to 
take  much  trouble  to  prove  a  woman's  innocence,  and 
it  was  only  because  she  felt  that  I  had  been  cruelly 
and  shamefully  wronged  by  her  mother  and  Mrs.  E. 
that  she  impulsively  rendered  me  that  justice.  She, 
Mrs.  Poe,  felt  grieved  that  she  herself  had  drawn  me 
into  the  snare  by  imploring  me  to  be  kind  to  Edgar 
—  to  grant  him  my  society  and  to  write  to  him,  be 
cause,  she  said,  I  was  the  only  woman  he  knew  who 
influenced  him  for  his  good,  or,  indeed,  who  had  any 
lasting  influence  over  him.  I  wish  the  simple  truth  to 

298  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

be  known,  —  that  he  sought  me,  not  I  him.  It  is  too 
cruel  that  I,  the  only  one  of  those  literary  women  who 
did  not  seek  his  acquaintance,  —  for  Mrs.  Ellet  asked 
an  introduction  to  him,  and  followed  him  everywhere, 
Miss  Lynch  begged  me  to  bring  him  there  and  called 
upon  him  at  his  lodgings,  Mrs.  Whitman  besieged  him 
with  valentines  and  letters  long  before  he  wrote  or  took 
any  notice  of  her,  and  all  the  others  wrote  poetry  and 
letters  to  him,  —  it  is  too  cruel  that  I  should  be  singled 
out  after  his  death  as  the  only  victim  to  suffer  from  the 
slanders  of  his  mother.  I  never  thought  of  him  till 
he  sent  me  his  '  Raven '  and  asked  Willis  to  introduce 
him  to  me,  and  immediately  after  I  went  to  Albany, 
and  afterwards  to  Boston  and  Providence  to  avoid  him, 
and  he  followed  me  to  each  of  those  places  and  wrote 
to  me,  imploring  me  to  love  him,  many  a  letter  which 
I  did  not  reply  to  until  his  wife  added  her  entreaties  to 
his  and  said  that  I  might  save  him  from  infamy,  and 
her  from  death,  by  showing  an  affectionate  interest  in 

Stung  to  the  quick  by  the  slanders  growing  out  of 
her  Platonic  correspondence  with  Poe,  who  never 
ceased  to  be  devoted  to  her,  Mrs.  Osgood  penned  this 
self-contradictory  communication  to  Griswold;  which 
did  not  prevent  her  from  addressing  an  impassioned 
dirge  to  the  poet's  memory  as  the  last  poem  in  the 
volume  of  verse  published  just  before  her  death  in 
May,  1850  : 

"The  hand  that  swept  the  sounding  lyre 

With  more  than  mortal  skill, 
The  lightning  eye,  the  heart  of  fire, 

The  fervent  lips  are  still  ! 
No  more,  in  rapture  or  in  woe, 
With  melody  to  thrill, 

Ah!  Nevermore!" 





DURING  the  Whitman  episode  and  while  he  was 
travelling  to  and  fro  between  New  York,  Providence, 
and  Lowell,  where  he  lectured  in  August  on  "  The 
Poetic  Principle,"  he  made  some  valuable  acquaint 
ances  —  the  Richmonds,  of  Westford  —  who  became 
attached  and  life-long  friends  to  himself  and  Mrs. 
Clemm.  We  find  him  soon  after  in  Richmond,  Va., 
and  on  intimate  terms  with  the  poet  John  R.  Thomp 
son,  editor  of  "  The  Southern  Literary  Messenger," 
for  which  he  was  furnishing  new  instalments  of 
"  Marginalia."  Thompson  became  extremely  fond 
of  Poe,  and  wrote,  after  his  death,  a  lecture  on  him 
which,  it  is  greatly  to  be  regretted,  has  seemingly  per 
ished.  "When  in  Richmond,"  reports  Mr.  Thomp 
son,  "  he  made  the  office  of  the  «  Messenger  '  a  place 
of  frequent  resort.  His  conversation  was  always  at 
tractive,  and  at  times  very  brilliant.  Among  modern 
authors  his  favorite  wa°  Tennyson,  and  he  delighted 
to  recite  from  '  The  Princess '  the  song  '  Tears,  idle 
tears  '  —  and  a  fragment  of  which, 

"  t  when  unto  dying  eyes 
The  casement  slowly  grows  a  glimmering  square,' 

he  pronounced  unsurpassed  by  any  image  expressed  in 

300  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

For  Mr.  Thompson,  whom  he  inspired  with  an 
affection  similar  to  that  with  which  he  inspired  all 
with  whom  he  had  personal  dealings,  he  wrote  much 
of  his  sparkling  and  vivid  "Marginalia,"  as  well  as  re 
views  of  "  Stella  ' '  and  Mrs.  Osgood.  To  his  quality 
and  general  worth  Mr.  Thompson,  who  saw  so  much 
of  him  in  his  latter  days,  bears  feeling  testimony.  In 
1853,  writing  to  Mr.  James  Wood  Davidson,  Mr. 
Thompson  remarks  :  <f  Two  years  ago,  I  had  a  long 
conversation  with  Mr.  Robert  and  Elizabeth  Barrett 
Browning  concerning  Poe.  The  two  poets,  like  your 
self,  had  formed  an  ardent  and  just  admiration  of  the 
author  of  *  The  Raven,'  and  feel  a  strong  desire  to  see 
his  memory  vindicated  from  moral  aspersion." 

"  Stella  ' '  was  another  link  in  the  golden  chain 
of  women  who  honored  and  almost  worshipped  the 
poet,  and  who  have  done  more  than  any  other  per 
sons  to  vindicate  and  cleanse  his  bedraggled  memory. 
She  was  the  woman  to  whom  Poe,  as  he  parted  with 
her  the  day  he  left  for  the  fatal  journey  to  Rich 
mond,  entrusted  the  writing  of  his  life  —  Miss  Rob 
inson,  an  accomplished  lady  of  Baltimore,  who  had 
spent  much  of  her  early  life  in  Cuba,  where  her  father 
was  engaged  in  business.  She  was  a  thorough  linguist 
in  the  ancient  and  modern  languages,  and  married  an 
attorney  in  Brooklyn,  Mr.  S.  D.  Lewis.  She  tells  of 
her  acquaintance  in  the  following  lines :  "  I  saw  much 
of  Mr.  Poe  during  the  last  year  of  his  life.  He  was 
one  of  the  most  sensitive  and  refined  gentlemen  I  ever 
met.  My  girlish  poem,  '  Forsaken,'  made  us  ac 
quainted.  He  had  seen  it  floating  the  rounds  of  the 
press,  and  wrote  to  tell  me  how  much  he  liked  it  :  'It 
is  inexpressibly  beautiful,'  he  said,  '  and  I  should  very 
much  like  to  know  the  young  author.'  " 


Poe  wrote  of  her  :  "  Mrs.  Lewis  is,  perhaps,  the 
best  educated,  if  not  the  most  accomplished  of  Ameri 
can  authoresses.  .  .  .  She  is  not  only  cultivated  as  re 
spects  the  usual  ornamental  acquirements  of  her  sex, 
but  excels  as  a  modern  linguist,  and  very  especially  as 
a  classical  scholar  ;  while  her  scientific  acquisitions  are 
of  no  common  order.' ' 

The  lady  translated  charmingly  from  Vergil,  pub 
lished  "  Records  of  the  Heart"  (Appletons,  1844), 
"The  Child  of  the  Sea,"  (Putnams,  1848),  "The 
King's  Stratagem,"  "Sappho:  A  Tragedy"  (published 
in  London,  1876,  and  dedicated  to  her  "devoted  friend 
Adelaide  Ristori,  the  greatest  living  tragedienne"^,  and 
many  fugitive  poems.  To  her  Poe  addressed  "An 
Enigma,"  which  appeared  in  the  "  Union  Magazine" 
for  March,  I  848  —  easily  solved  by  combining,  as  in 
"A  Valentine,"  the  first  letter  in  the  first  line  with 
the  second  in  the  second,  and  so  on,  until  "  the  dear 
names  that  lie  concealed  within  't "  are  spelt  out  ;  and 
she  was  one  of  the  warm  friends  who  assisted  Mrs. 
Shew  and  the  Union  Club  in  raising  a  purse  of  $100 
for  the  destitute  family  after  Virginia's  death. 

Not  long  before  the  Virginia  trip  a  cheering  beam 
fell  across  Poe's  path  in  the  friendship  of  the  Rich- 
monds  (to  which  we  have  already  referred)  —  a  family 
who  gave  Mrs.  Clemm  a  hospitable  home  and  divided 
with  the  Lewises  the  kind  offices  of  true  friendship 
towards  her  after  Poe's  death.  This  friendship  began 
in  the  summer  of  1848,  when  he  was  lecturing  in 
Lowell  on  "The  Female  Poets  of  America,"  and 
later,  the  same  year,  when  he  lectured  on  "  The 
Poetic  Principle;"  and  it  was  to  the  "Annie"  of 
this  household  that  he  addressed  his  strange  and  beau 
tiful  death-poem,  "  For  Annie,"  first  mentioned  in  a 

302  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

letter  to  her,  dated  March  23,  1849,  and  first  pub 
lished  in  "The  Flag  of  Our  Union  "  the  same  year. 
It  begins  :  — 

"Thank  Heaven!  the  crisis, 

The  danger,  is  past, 
And  the  lingering  illness 

Is  over  at  last, 

And  the  fever  called  '  Living  ' 
Is  conquered  at  last." 

The  last  two  lines  have  the  additional  interest  that 
Longfellow  suggested  them  as  an  epitaph  for  Poe's 
grave  l  when  the  Baltimore  monument  was  erected 
in  1875. 

Of  this  poem  Poe  wrote:  "I  enclose  also  some 
other  lines  '  For  Annie,'  —  and  will  you  let  me  know 
in  what  manner  they  impress  you  ?  I  have  sent  them 
to  the  '  Flag  of  Our  Union,'  ...  I  am  sorry  to  say 
that  the  '  Metropolitan  '  has  stopped  and  'Landor's 
Cottage  '  is  returned  on  my  hands  unprinted.  I  think 
the  lines  '  For  Annie '  (those  I  now  send)  much  the 
best  I  have  ever  written ;  but  an  author  can  seldom 
depend  on  his  own  estimate  of  his  own  works,  so  I 
wish  to  know  what  '  Annie '  truly  thinks  of  them.  .  .  . 
Do  not  let  the  verses  go  out  of  your  possession  until  you 
see  them  in  print,  —  as  I  have  sold  them  to  the  pub 
lisher  of  the  'Flag.'" 

At  Poe's  request  Willis,  his  faithful  friend,  "  disen 
tombed  "  the  poem  from  the  newspaper  in  which  it 
was  buried  and  reprinted  it  in  "  The  Home  Journal." 

At  this  time  Poe  was  suffering  from  repeated  disap 
pointments  ;  the  numerous  literary  engagements  which 
he  had  formed  with  "The  Columbian  Magazine," 
"The  Post,"  "The  Whig  Review,"  and  "The 

1  Miss  S.  S.  Rice  :  Edgar  Allan  Poe  :  Memorial  Volume  : 
Baltimore:  1877. 


Democratic,"  were  broken  either  by  the  failure  of 
the  periodicals  or  by  their  inability  to  pay  ;  even  his 
stand-bys — "The  Southern  Literary  Messenger," 
"Graham's,"  and  "  Sartain's,"  began  to  vacillate 
in  their  hospitality  and  to  threaten  to  drop  from  under 
him.  Articles  were  returned,  were  held  up  indefinite 
ly  after  acceptance,  or  disappeared  in  the  mails.  He 
pours  out  his  lamentations  to  his  new  Massachusetts 
friends  and  reveals  to  "Annie,"  with  a  singular 
warmth  of  tone,  all  his  personal  feelings,  hopes,  and 
forebodings.  All  this  fateful  year  was  full  of  extraordi 
nary  portent  for  him  : 

tl  No,  my  sadness  \sunaccountable"  he  writes  to 
her,  "  and  this  makes  me  the  more  sad.  I  am  full 
of  dark  forebodings.  Nothing  cheers  or  comforts  me. 
My  life  seems  wasted  —  the  future  looks  a  dreary 
blank  :  but  I  will  struggle  on  and  *  hope  against 
hope/  " 

This  was  a  little  while  before  he  set  out  for  Rich- 
mond  on  the  final  journey. 

A  lady  correspondent  of  Mr.  Gill's 1  has  given  some 
graphic  recollections  of  Poe  at  this  time  as  he  appeared 
to  his  Lowell-Westford  friends  : 

"I  have  in  my  mind's-eye  a  figure  somewhat  be 
low  medium  height,  perhaps,  but  so  perfectly  pro 
portioned,  and  crowned  with  such  a  noble  head, 
so  regally  carried,  that  to  my  girlish  apprehension  he 
gave  the  impression  of  commanding  stature.  Those 
clear,  sad  eyes  seemed  to  look  from  an  eminence  rather 
than  from  the  ordinary  level  of  humanity,  while  his 
conversational  tone  was  so  low  and  deep  that  one  could 
easily  fancy  it  borne  to  the  ear  from  some  distant 

1  Life  of  Poe  :  Chatto  and  Windus  :   1878,  p.  209 

304  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

"  I  saw  him  first  in  Lowell,  and  there  heard  him 
give  a  lecture  on  Poetry,  illustrated  by  readings.  His 
manner  of  rendering  some  of  the  selections  constitutes 
my  only  remembrance  of  the  evening  which  so  fasci 
nated  me.  Everything  was  rendered  with  pure  into 
nation,  and  perfect  enunciation,  marked  attention  being 
paid  to  the  rhythm.  He  almost  sa?2g  the  more  musical 
versifications.  I  recall  more  perfectly  than  anything 
else  the  undulations  of  his  smooth  baritone  voice  as 
he  recited  the  opening  lines  of  Byron's  'Bride  of 
Abydos'  :  — 

"  '  Know  ye  the  land  where  the  cypress  and  myrtle 

Are  emblems  of  deeds  that  are  done  in  their  clime,'  — 

measuring    the  dactylic  movement    perfectly  as  if  he 
were  scanning  it.      The  effect  was  very  pleasing. 

"  He  insisted  strongly  upon  an  even,  metrical  flow  in 
versification,  and  said  that  hard,  unequally  stepping 
poetry  had  better  be  done  into  prose.  I  think  he 
made  no  selections  of  a  humorous  character,  either  in 
his  public  or  parlor  readings.  He  smiled  but  seldom, 
and  never  laughed,  or  said  anything  to  excite  mirth  in 
others.  His  manner  was  quiet  and  grave.  ...  In 
thinking  of  Mr.  Poe  in  later  years  I  have  often  applied 
to  him  the  line  of  Wordsworth's  sonnet, — 

"  *  Thy  soul  was  like  a  star,  and  dwelt  apart.  *  ' 

The  first  mention  of  the  ballad  of  "  Annabel  Lee  " 
(published  two  days  after  his  death  in  the  "  New  York 
Tribune"  for  October  pth,  then  in  "  The  Southern 
Literary  Messenger"  for  November,  1849,  then  in 
Sartain's  "Union  Magazine  "  for  January,  1850)  — 
literally  a  voice  from  the  tomb,  with  the  accents  of 
Death  and  of  undying  music  in  it  —  is  found  in  one 


of  the  letters  to  "Annie,"  in  which,  speaking  of  the 
lines  "  For  Annie,"  he  says  :  "The  'Flag,'  so  mis 
printed  them  that  I  was  resolved  to  have  a  true  copy. 
The  '  Flag  '  has  two  of  my  articles  yet  —  '  A  Sonnet  to 
my  Mother,'  and  'Landor's  Cottage.'  ...  I  have 
written  a  ballad  called  '  Annabel  Lee,'  which  I  will 
send  you  soon." 

In  her  "Stanzas for  Music,"  subsequently  enlarged 
and  published  as  "  Our  Island  of  Dreams,"  quoted  on 
p.  291,  Mrs.  Whitman  l  saw  the  germ  of  "  Annabel 
Lee,"  which  she  firmly  believed  was  an  answer  to 
her  poem  from  the  striking  allusions  to  "  the  night 
wind  blew  cold  on  my  desolate  heart"  and  "  our  lone 
island  home  and  the  moan  of  the  sea,"  occurring 
therein.  Richard  Hengist  Home  saw  in  it  one  more 
instance  of  Poe's  "studied  artifice,  selection,  or  coin 
age,  of  liquid  and  sonorous  sounds  and  words  such  as 
(to  spell  them  phonetically)  ullaleume  —  annabellee — 
ells — (in  the  <  Bells  '),ore  in  'The  Raven,'  which 
abounds  in  that  long-drawn  tone." 

The  last  pathetic  glimpse  that  we  get  of  Poe  in 
New  York  is  on  an  early  summer  morning  in  June, 
when,  having  spent  the  night  with  his  "  dear  Mud- 
die  "  (as  he  affectionately  called  Mrs.  Clemm)  at 
Mrs.  Lewis's,  he  stood  on  the  threshold  of  the  hos 
pitable  home  and,  with  streaming  eyes  and  heart  full 
of  foreboding,  bade  farewell  i  a  slight,  poetic  figure, 
tense  with  emotion,  so  full  of  dynamic  force  that  even 
then,  after  many  almost  deadly  illnesses,  his  brain 
teemed  with  projects  for  the  future.  All  through 
these  latter  years  one  hears  of  "A  Critical  History 
of  American  Literature,"  "The  Literati:  Some  Hon- 

1  Ingram,  II.,  200. 
VOL.  I.  —  20 

306  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

est  Opinions  about  Autorial  Merits  and  Demerits,  with 
Occasional  Words  of  Personality,  together  with  Mar 
ginalia,  Suggestions,  and  Essays  "  :  an  expanded 
reprint  of  his  Literati  series,  with  quotations  from 
Bacon  and  Coke ;  and  "  Phases  of  American  Liter 
ature "  ;  but  nothing  came  of  them. 

"  The  day  before  he  left  New  York  for  Richmond," 
says  Mrs.  Lewis,  "  Mr.  Poe  came  to  dinner  and 
stayed  the  night.  He  seemed  very  sad  and  retired 
early.  On  leaving  the  next  morning  he  took  my  hand 
in  his,  and,  looking  in  my  face,  said,  '  Dear  Stella, 
my  much-beloved  friend :  You  truly  understand  and 
appreciate  me  —  I  have  a  presentiment  that  I  shall  never 
see  you  again.  I  must  leave  to-day  for  Richmond.  If 
I  never  return,  write  my  life,  you  can  and  will  do  me 
justice. ' 

"  '  I  will  !  '  I  exclaimed.  And  we  parted  to  meet 
no  more  in  this  life.  That  promise  I  have  not  yet  felt 
equal  to  fulfil." 

Mrs.  Clemm  noted  the  wretched  spirits  in  which  he 
parted  from  them,  before  leaving  home,  arranging  all 
his  papers  and  telling  her  what  to  do  in  case  he  died. 
The  parting  on  the  steamboat  was  a  very  dejected  one, 
though  he  tried  in  vain  to  cheer  and  comfort  her  with 
promises  to  return  soon  full  of  love  and  consolation. 

John  Sartain,  the  artist  and  magazinist,  who  edited 
the  well-known  periodical  —  Sartain' s  f<  Union  Maga 
zine  "  —  in  which   "  The  Bells  "   was  published,  lifts 
the  veil  and  tells  us  what  happened  in  Philadelphia  to 
the  ill-controlled  and  impoverished  poet :  another  scene 
from  Dante's  Inferno.      Poe's   low  nervous  condition, 
y        his  run-down  physical  system,  his  extreme  mental  de- 
j\       pression  on  separating  from  his  friends,  the  slow  ravages 
of  the  lesion  in  the  brain  from  which   he  was  all  this 


time  suffering,  an  apparent  utter  prostration  of  the  will 
before  drugs  or  stimulants  that  would  for  a  moment  lift 
him  out  of  the  Slough  of  Despond  or  even  momentarily 
restore  an  artificial  vigor,  were  the  subtle  agencies  at 
work  to  overthrow  his  brave  determination  to  show 
Mrs.  Clemm  "how  good  he  could  be  while  he  was 

"  Poe,"  says  Mr.  Gill,1  "was  an  inmate  [at  Phila 
delphia]  of  the  hospitable  mansion  of  the  artist  and 
publisher,  Mr.  J.  Sartain,  widely  known  as  the  pro 
prietor  of  'Sartain's  Magazine,'  whose  kindness  the 
poet  had  frequently  shared.  Fortunate,  indeed,  would 
it  have  been  for  Poe  had  he  met  with  this  staunch 
friend  on  first  reaching  the  city  this  time.  Had  he 
fallen  into  his  protecting  hands  earlier,  instead  of  meet 
ing  with  reckless  associates,  ready  as  in  old  times  to 
tempt  him  to  the  indulgence  inevitably  fatal  to  him, 
how  different  might  have  been  his  fate  !  But  it  was 
ordained  otherwise.  When  he  finally  reached  the  resi 
dence  of  his  kind  friend,  Poe  was  in  a  highly  excited  V 
condition,  almost  distracted  indeed.  His  mind  seemed 
bewildered  and  oppressed  with  the  dread  of  some  fear 
ful  conspiracy  against  his  life ;  nor  could  the  arguments 
or  entreaties  of  his  friend  convince  him  that  some 
deadly  foe  was  not,  at  that  very  moment,  in  pursuit  of 
him/"~He  begged  for  a  razor  for  the  purpose  of  re 
moving  the  moustache  from  his  lip,  in  order,  as  he 
suggested,  that  he  might  disguise  his  appearance,  and  '~A 
thus  baffle  his  pursuers.  But,  unwilling  to  place  such  / 
an  instrument  in  his  hands,  he  was  prevailed  upon  to 
allow  his  host  to  effect  the  desired  change  upon  which 
he  imagined  his  safety  depended.  The  condition  of 

1  Life  of  Poe  :  Chatto  and  Windus :  London  :  1878,  p.  234. 


Poe's  mind  was  such  that  Mr.  Sartain,  after  persuad 
ing  him  to  lie  down,  remained  watching  with  him 
through  the  night  with  anxious  solicitude,  unwilling  to 
lose  sight  of  the  unfortunate  sufferer  for  a  moment. 
^  The  following  night,  Foe  insisted  on  going  out.  He 
turned  his  steps  towards  the  River  Schuylkill,  accom 
panied,  however,  by  his  devoted  friend,  whose  appre 
hension  was  strengthened  by  the  vehemence  with 
which,  without  cessation,  he  poured  forth  in  the 
rich,  musical  tones  for  which  he  was  distinguished,  the 
fervid  imageries  of  his  brilliant  but  over-excited  imagi 
nation.  The  all-absorbing  theme  which  still  retained 
possession  of  his  mind,  was  the  fearful  conspiracy  that 
threatened  his  destruction.  Vainly  his  friend  en 
deavored  to  reassure  and  persuade  him.  He  rushed  on 
with  unwearied  steps,  threading  different  streets,  his 
companion  striving  to  lead  him  homeward,  but  still  in 

"  Towards  midnight,  they  reached  Fairmount  and 
/  ascended  the  steps  leading  to  the  summit,  Poe  all  the 
while  giving  free  scope  to  the  conversational  powers 
P  for  which  he  was  always  remarkable,  insisting  upon 
the  imminence  of  his  peril,  and  pleading  with  touch 
ing  eloquence  for  protection.  .  .  . 

"  He  did  n't  recover  from  this  intense  excitement 
until,  subsequently,  escaping  from  the  house,  he  wan- 
%.  /  dered  out  into  the  neighborhood  of  the  city,  and, 
throwing  himself  down  in  the  open  air  in  a  pleasant 
field,  his  shattered  nerves  found  a  comfortless  but  sorely 
needed  repose.  He  woke  refreshed.  .  .  . 

t€  All  that  he  could  call  to  mind  were  the  entreaties 
and  persuasions  of  some  *  guardian  angel  '  who  had 
sought  to  dissuade  him  from  a  frightful  purpose." 

More  than  three  weeks  elapsed  before  Mrs.  Clemm, 


distracted  with  apprehension  and  grief,  heard  from 
"Eddie,"  and  then  he  had  reached  Richmond  and 
was  at  the  house  of  Mrs.  Nye,  an  old  friend  of  the 
family.  The  man  who  could  trace  Conscience  with 
such  terrible  force  in  others,  through  all  the  minute 
convolutions  of  the  diseased  brain  ;  the  man  who 
could  figure  it  in  "  William  Wilson,"  a  frenzied  Kriem- 
hild  as  she  pursues  Hagen  through  the  blood-stained 
stanzas  of  the  "  Nibelungen  Lay  "  ;  the  man  who  in 
carnated  it,  with  its  sister  Remorse,  in  the  flashing 
eyes  and  shadowy  form  of  the  "Raven":  this  man 
had  left  his  devoted  "  mother  "  without  a  line  for 
three  interminable  weeks,  and  now  turned  up  in  the 
home  of  his  youth,  an  honored  and  feted  guest  ! 

This  episode  alone  shows  that  Poe  had  become  a 
wreck  and  should  have  been  in  some  beneficent  sani 
tarium  where  good  food,  perfect  quiet,  the  laws  of 
spiritual  and  physical  hygiene,  and  absolute  freedom 
from  excitements  might  have  restored  his  broken  sense 
of  responsibility. 

310  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 




THE  last  days  in  Richmond  have  fortunately  been 
painted  for  us  by  a  sympathetic  and  artistic  hand  in  a 
picture  to  which  we  can  add  a  few  important  imprinted 
details  gathered  from  still  living  contemporaries  of  the 

In  his  return  —  a  prodigal  —  to  the  beautiful  old 
city  of  his  youth  where  so  many  innocent  and  happy 
hours  had  been  spent,  fishing,  hunting,  swimming  in 
the  ancient  yellow  "Jeems,"  running  the  flower- 
bespangled  woods,  acting  in  the  Thespian  Club, 
verse-capping  at  old  Burke' s  Academy,  the  city  where 
his  mother  lay  in  a  nameless  and  unknown  grave,  Poe 
found  for  a  brief  two  months  and  a  half  a  renewal  of 
the  eagle-like  strength  of  his  earlier  years.  The  city 
had  of  course  grown  immensely  since  his  youth  ;  the 
Mexican  War,  with  its  wave  of  excitement,  had  passed 
over  the  land  and  brought  the  great  Virginians,  Zachary 
Taylor  and  Winfield  Scott  prominently  before  the 
public ;  the  streets  swarmed  with  new  faces  ;  new 
literary  figures  had  appeared  on  the  scene  ;  but  it  was, 
fundamentally,  the  same  dear  old  Richmond,  social, 
hospitable,  sunshiny,  richly  read  in  eighteenth  century 
literature,  a  trifle  pedantic  in  its  culture,  but  full  of 
winsome  women  and  cultivated  men  who  had  watched 
the  career  of  this  extraordinary  " cosmopolite"  (as  the 


novelist  Virginian  Cooke,  called  him)  and  were  ready 
to  welcome  the  wanderer  back  to  what  many  of  them 
thought  was  his  native  town. 

The  Mackenzies  and  Cabells,  the  Mayos  and  Sul- 
lys,  the  Sheltons  and  Carters  and  Thomases  were  still 
there,  friends  of  his  youth,  ready  to  kill  the  fatted  calf 
in  honor  of  the  return,  and  their  houses  were  thrown 
wide  open  to  the  gifted  and  distinguished  stranger. 
Poe,  like  Chaucer  in  his  famous  "I  am  a  Sotherne 
man,"  continually  referred  to  Virginia  as  his  home 
and  shrank  from  the  hyperborean  clime  and  criticism 
of  certain  latitudes  in  the  north-east,  albeit  deriving 
from  thence  many  an  auroral  beam  of  true  and  lasting 
friendship.  In  his  own  Virginia  —  consecrated,  to 
him,  by  the  tenderest  of  names  —  he  felt  perfectly  at  '-•» 
home  ;  and  here  he  felt,  too,  that  his  "  Stylus  "  pro 
ject  might  grow  into  a  real  thing.  Friends  flocked 
around  him  ;  offers  of  subscriptions  and  of  subscribers 
were  freely  made  ;  and  he  delivered  several  lectures  in 
the  parlors  of  the  old  Exchange  Hotel,  where,  a  little 
later,  the  Prince  of  Wales  (now  King  Edward  VII.) 
was  entertained  in  1860. 

Poe  put  up  at  the  old  "  Swan  Tavern,'*  which  is 
referred  to,  among  other  interesting  matters,  in  the 
following  letter  to  the  author  : 

RICHMOND,  Nov.  26th,   1900. 

DEAR  SIR,  —  Your  letter  of  November  twenty-fifth  re 
ceived,  in  which  you  state  I  might  know  something  of  the 
poet,  Edgar  Poe,  and  his  visit  to  Richmond  in  eighteen 
forty-nine.  My  impression  is  he  was  a  resident  at  that 
time  of  this  city,  and  boarded  at  the  old  "  Swan  Tavern," 
on  Broad  Street,  between  Eighth  and  Ninth.  Dr. 
George  Rawlins,  an  intimate  friend  of  mine,  told  me  he 
attended  him  there  in  an  attack  of  "  delirium  tremens," 

312  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

and  before  he  had  ceased  to  visit  him,  he  left  the  tavern, 
and  when  next  heard  from,  was  in  Baltimore,  where  he  re 
newed  his  frolic,  and  died  in  a  few  days. 

I  had  no  personal  acquaintance  with  Poe,  but  have 
often  seen  him.  The  only  time  I  ever  heard  him  speak 
was  the  summer  of  eighteen  forty-eight  in  the  Exchange 
Concert-room  in  this  city.  The  inspiration  of  the  lecture 
was  no  doubt  need  of  money.  In  elucidating  his  subject  — 
"The  Poetic  Principle1' — he  recited  excerpts  from  some 
of  his  poems —  "  Annabelle  Lee,"  "  Tintinnabulations  of 
the  Bells,1'  etc.  5  and  in  conclusion  repeated  "The 
Raven  "  with  all  the  rhythm  and  pathos  of  which  he  was 
capable.  All  this  before  an  audience  of  about  twenty  per 
sons.  The  occasion  to  this  day  I  recall  with  pleasure.  I 
have  heard  that  at  times  his  necessities  were  so  urgent  he 
would  write  a  poem  and  sell  it  to  an  acquaintance  for  the 
paltry  sum  of  one  dollar.  He  was  said  to  be  moody  and 
peevish,  but  always  recognized  by  his  school-fellows  as  a 
boy  of  true  courage.  On  one  occasion  a  friend  found  him 
lying  on  the  wayside  —  intoxicated.  As  he  approached 
him  he  exclaimed:  "Why,  Edgar  Poe!"  when  Poe 
looked  at  him  and  replied  :  "  No  ;  poor  Edgar,"  showing 
he  always  retained  his  wits.  The  "Swan  Tavern"  is 
still  in  existence,  but  hardly  recognizable,  having  been  con 
verted  into  offices,  lodging-rooms,  and  so  on.  Miss  Jane 
McKenzie,  who  adopted  Miss  Rosalie  Poe  about  the  time 
Mr.  Allan  took  Edgar  Poe,  is,  of  course,  long  since  dead 
—  in  fact  every  member  of  her  family,  so  far  as  I  know,  is 
dead.  I  had  a  slight  acquaintance  with  Mrs.  Shelton,  to 
whom  he  was  said  to  be  engaged,  but  of  her  family  I  can 
tell  you  nothing. 

It  may  be  emphasized,  in  connection  with  one 
matter  referred  to  in  this  letter,  that  Richmond  has  for 
fifty  years  past  been  divided  into  two  antagonistic  camps 
on  the  "Poe  question,"  the  minority  holding  the 
"  delirium  tremens ' '  theory  of  his  irregularities,  the  ma- 

">   * 

UJ  Uj 

314  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

Poe  was  in  pursuit  of.  That  Poe's  affections  for 
women  were  intense  but  fleeting,  is  a  part  of  the  uni 
versal  record  of  him  ;  and  in  the  case  of  Mrs.  Shelton 
it  may  well  have  been  a  momentary  recrudescence  of 
the  old  feeling  mixed  with  new  elements  of  self-in 
terest.  The  lady  herself  believed  she  was  engaged  to 
Poe,  and  so  asserted  by  pen  and  mouth  to/  Dr.  J.  J. 
Moran,  the  physician  who  attended  Poe  in  his  last  ill 
ness.1  In  the  Ingram  correspondence  ("Appleton's 
Journal,"  May,  1878)  she  thus  describes  their  meeting 
in  the  summer  of  1 849,  describing  their  relation,  how 
ever,  as  a  "partial  understanding"  only  : 

"  I  was  ready  to  go  to  church,  when  a  servant 
entered  and  told  me  that  a  gentleman  in  the  parlor 
wished  to  see  me.  I  went  down  and  was  amazed  at 
seeing  him  [Poe],  but  knew  him  instantly.  He  came 
up  to  me  in  the  most  enthusiastic  manner,  and  said: 
'  Oh  !  Elmira,  is  it  you  ? '  I  told  him  I  was  going 
to  church,  that  I  never  let  anything  interfere  with  that, 
and  that  he  must  call  again.  .  .  . 

"  When  he  did  call  again,  he  renewed  his  addresses. 
I  laughed  ;  he  looked  away  serious,  and  said  he  was 
in  earnest,  and  had  been  thinking  about  it  for  a  long 
time.  When  I  found  out  that  he  was  very  serious,  I 
became  serious  also,  and  told  him  that,  if  he  would  not 
take  a  positive  denial,  he  must  give  me  time  to  con 
sider.  He  answered,  '  A  love  that  hesitated  was  not 
a  love  for  him.'  .  .  .  But  he  stayed  a  long  time,  and 
was  very  pleasant  and  cheerful.  He  came  to  visit  me 
frequently.  ...  I  went  with  him  to  the  *  Exchange 
K  Concert- Room,' and  heard  him  read.  .  .  .  When  he 
was  going  away,  he  begged  me  to  marry  him,  and  prom- 

1  A  Defence  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe.       By  Jno.  J.  Moran,  M.D. : 
Washington,  1885. 


ised  he  would  be  everything  I  could  desire.  He 
said,  when  he  left,  that  he  was  going  to  New  York  to 
wind  up  some  business  matters,  and  that  he  would  re 
turn  to  Richmond  as  soon  as  he  had  accomplished  it, 
although  he  said,  at  the  same  time,  that  he  had  a  pre 
sentiment  that  he  should  never  see  me  any  more.  .  .  . 
I  was  not  engaged  to  him,  but  there  was  a  partial 
understanding.  ...  He  was  a  gentleman  in  every 
sense  of  the  word.  He  was  one  of  the  most  fascinat 
ing  and  refined  men  I  ever  knew.  I  never  saw  him 
under  the  influence  of  wine." 

Thus  bathing  in  the  sunlight  of  his  youth,  touching 
the  hand  of  people  he  had  not  met  for  twenty  years, 
lounging  in  the  comfortable  office  of  the  "  Messenger," 
whose  accomplished  young  editor,  the  poet  John  R. 
Thompson,  eagerly  received  anything  he  might  send, 
and  freshening  up  old  associations  at  "The  Hermit 
age,  "  the  home  of  the  Mayos,  fondly  intertwined  with 
his  earliest  memories,  Poe  seemed  well  on  the  way  to 
the  happy  rejuvenation  that  awaited  a  man  emerging  / 
as  from  a  hideous  dream  —  a  life  of  penury,  persecu 
tion,  and  humiliation  —  into  the  daylight  of  restored 
peace  and  happiness. 

"  Poe's  personality  is  as  vivid  to  me,"  writes 
Prof.  B.  C.  Gildersleeve  to  the  editor,  "as  if  I  had 
heard  and  seen  him  yesterday.  I  am  old  enough  to 
remember  what  an  excitement  his  '  Gold- Bug ' 
created  in  Charleston  when  it  first  appeared,  and  how 
severely  we  boys  criticised  the  inaccuracies  in  the  de 
scription  of  Sullivan's  Island.  Poe  himself  I  saw  and 
heard  in  Richmond  during  the  last  summer  of  his  life. 
He  was  lodging  at  some  poor  place  in  Broad  Street,  if 
I  am  not  mistaken.  At  least  I  saw  him  repeatedly  in 
that  thoroughfare  —  a  poetical  figure,  if  there  ever  was 

316  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

one,  clad  in  black  as  was  the  fashion  then  —  slender 
—  erect  —  the  subtle  lines  of  his  face  fixed  in  medita 
tion.  I  thought  him  wonderfully  handsome,  the 
mouth  being  the  only  weak  point.  I  was  too  shy  to 
seek  an  introduction  to  the  poet,  but  John  R.  Thomp 
son  procured  for  me  Poe's  autograph,  a  possession  of 
which  I  was  naturally  very  proud. 

"  While  Poe  was  in  Richmond  some  of  his  friends 
got  up  a  reading  for  his  benefit,  and  I  heard  him  read 
'  The  Raven  '  and  some  other  poems  before  a  small 
audience  in  one  of  the  parlors  of  the  Exchange  Hotel. 
In  spite  of  my  admiration  of  Poe  I  was  not  an  un 
critical  listener,  and  I  have  retained  the  impression 
that  he  did  not  read  very  well.  His  voice  was  pleas 
ant  enough,  but  he  emphasized  the  rhythm  unduly  — 
a  failing  common,  I  believe,  to  poets  endowed  with  a 
keen  sense  of  the  music  of  their  own  verse/' 

"A  compact,  well-set  man,"  wrote  Bishop  Fitz 
gerald,  "about  five  feet  six  inches  high,  straight  as  an 
arrow,  easy-gaited,  with  white  linen  coat  and  trousers, 
black  velvet  vest  and  broad  Panama  hat,  features  sad 
yet  finely  cut,  shapely  head,  and  eyes  that  were  strangely 
magnetic  as  you  looked  into  them  —  this  is  the  image 
of  Edgar  Allan  Poe  most  vivid  to  my  mind  as  I  saw 
him  one  warm  day  in  Richmond  in  1849.  There 
was  a  fascination  about  him  that  everybody  felt.  Meet 
ing  him  in  the  midst  of  thousands  a  stranger  would 
stop  to  get  a  second  look,  and  to  ask,  '  Who  is  he  ? ' 
He  was  distingue  in  a  peculiar  sense  —  a  man  bearing 
the  stamp  of  genius  and  the  charm  of  a  melancholy  that 
drew  one  toward  him  with  a  strange  sympathy.  He 
was  scarcely  less  unique  in  his  personality  than  in  his 
literary  quality.  His  writings  had  already  given  him 
national  reputation.  The  gentleness  of  his  manner  and 


the  tones  of  his  voice  seemed  to  me  to  be  strangely 
contrasted  with  the  bitterness  that  characterized  his 
personal  controversies.  These  controversies  were 
strangely  numerous,  and  in  nearly  all  cases  their  in 
tensity  was  in  the  inverse  ratio  to  the  importance  of 
the  issues  involved.  Poe,  I  suspect,  was  one  of  the 
men  who  said  worse  things  than  he  felt,  his  talent  for 
satire  proving  a  snare  to  him,  as  it  has  been  to  many 
others  who  with  pen  or  tongue  sacrifice  moderation  for 
brilliancy  or  piquancy  of  expression.  He  was  harshly 
treated  by  some  of  his  contemporaries,  but  he  owed 
them  nothing  on  this  account,  giving  them  as  good  as 
they  sent  in  the  way  of  invective  or  sarcasm.  The  bitter  \ 
personalities  of  literary  men  at  that  time  were  owing  in 
part  to  an  evil  fashion  then  prevalent.  The  duelling 
and  street  fights  among  politicians  had  their  counter 
part  in  the  shedding  of  vitriolic  ink  among  the  literati, 
great  and  small.  Poe  only  differed  from  the  rest  in 
that  he  had  a  sharper  thrust  and  a  surer  aim. 

"  The  Richmond  «  Examiner  '  was  just  then  achiev 
ing  its  first  and  winning  distinction  as  an  able  and 
ultra  advocate  of  State  Rights  politics.  John  C.  Cal- 
houn  was  the  leader,  and  the  young  '  chivalry  '  of  the 
South  made  a  following  that  was  heroic,  and  that  did 
not  stop  to  count  the  cost.  The  '  Examiner '  was 
their  organ  in  Virginia  —  and  a  live  organ  it  was. 
John  M.  Daniel,  its  editor-in-chief,  wrote  political 
leaders  that  were  logic  and  rhetoric  on  fire.  Robert 
W.  Hughes  discussed  in  good  English  economic  ques 
tions  from  the  standpoint  of  his  time  and  his  section. 
Arthur  E.  Petticolas  wrote  concerning  art  with  much 
enthusiasm  and  some  show  of  culture.  Patrick  Henry 
Aylett,  a  kinsman  of  the  great  orator  of  the  Revolu 
tion,  whose  Christian  name  he  bore,  with  a  free  hand 

31 8  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

touched  up  current  politics  and  living  politicians. 
Aylett  was  a  picturesque  Virginian  of  that  time  —  a 
man  nearly  seven  feet  high,  who  had  something  of  the 
eloquence  of  his  renowned  ancestor,  and  the  easy 
swing  of  a  man  of  the  people,  a  man  who  believed 
with  all  his  heart  in  the  Revolution  of  '98  and  '99, 
and  uniformly  voted  the  straight  Democratic  ticket. 
Mr.  Poe  now  and  then  contributed  a  literary  article 
critical  and  peculiar,  unmistakably  his  own.  There 
were  others  who  wrote  for  the  '  Examiner '  — 
among  them  a  youth  who  felt  called  upon  to  expound 
oracularly  certain  controverted  Constitutional  questions 
that  Clay,  Calhoun  and  Webster  had  failed  to  settle. 
He  was  a  young  man  then,  and  need  not  be  named 

"  Poe  and  Daniel  were  often  together,  and  I  was  not 
surprised  when  informed  that  arrangements  had  been 
made  by  which  the  former  was  soon  to  become  the 
literary  editor  of  the  '  Examiner,'  was  talked  of  in 
newspaper  circles,  and  much  satisfaction  expressed  by 
the  initiated,  who  regarded  it  as  a  transaction  promis 
ing  good  things  for  Southern  journalism  and  literature. 
The  *  Examiner,'  the  new  star  in  the  journalistic 
firmament,  was  expected  to  blaze  with  added  lustre 
and  fill  all  the  South  with  the  illumination. 

"  Poe  had  the  sensitive  organization  of  a  man  of 
genius,  to  whom  alcoholic  stimulation  brings  madness; 
for  such  there  is  no  middle  ground  between  total  ab 
stinence  and  inebriety.  By  the  persuasion  of  friends 
he  was  induced  to  take  a  pledge  of  total  abstinence 
from  all  intoxicating  drinks.  There  is  no  reason  to 
doubt  his  sincerity.  His  sad  face  took  on  a  more 
hopeful  expression  ;  with  a  new  hope  in  his.  heart  he 
was  about  to  make  a  new  start  in  life.  ;  It  was  an- 


nounced  that  he  would  soon  make  a  visit  to  New  York  // 
to  close  out  hk.affairs  there,  preparatory  to  his  entrance 
upon  his  n£w  engagement  at  Richmond.  With  a  view 
to  giving  mm  pecuniary  assistance  in  a  delicate  way, 
and  an  expression  of  the  good  will  of  the  Richmond 
public  toward  him,  Poe  was  invited  to  deliver  a  lecture 
on  some  topic  to  be  chosen  by  himself.  The  tickets 
were  placed  at  five  dollars  each,  and  at  that  price  three 
hundred  persons  were  packed  into  the  assembly  rooms  / 
of  the  old  Exchange  Hotel.  The  lecture  prepared  for  \f 
that  occasion  was  on  '  The  Poetic  Principle, '  and  it 
was  read  by  him  as  it  is  now  presented  in  his  works. 
He  was  a  charming  reader,  his  manner  the  opposite  of 
the  elocutionary  or  sensational  — quiet,  without  gesture,  / 
with  distinctness  of  utterance,  nice  shadings  of  accent, 
easy  gracefulness,  and  that  indefinable  element  that 
draws  the  hearer  toward  the  speaker  with  increasing 
good  will  and  pleasure.  I  am  glad  that  I  heard  Poe  read 
that  lecture ;  its  sentences  on  the  printed  page  have  for 
me  an  added  charm  from  the  recollection.  The  net  pro 
ceeds  of  the  lecture  amounted  to  fifteen  hundred  dollars. 
There  was  a  touch  of  old  Virginia  in  the  way  this  was 
done.  There  is  some  of  that  old  Virginia  still  left.  The 
Virginia  of  that  day  and  this  will  demonstrate  their 
identity  in  the  outcome  of  the  movement  to  provide 
here  at  your  university  a  suitable  memorial  of  her  most 
distinguished  alumnus. 

"With  the  proceeds  of  this  lecture  in  hand,  Mr. 
Poe  started  to  New  York,  but  he  never  made  the  journey. 
Stopping  in  Baltimore  en  route  he  was  invited  to  a  birth 
day  party.  During  the  feast  the  fair  hostess  asked  him 
to  pledge  with  wine ;  and  he  could  not  refuse.  That 
glass  of  wine  was  a  spark  to  a  powder  magazine.  He 
went  on  a  debauch,  and  a  few  days  later  died  in  a 


hospital  of  mania  a potu.  On  its  nearer  side  death  is  a 
tragedy  whenever,  wherever,  and  however  it  may  come. 
But  the  tragedy  of  Poe'  s  death  is  too  deep  for  words  of 
mine.  He  was  only  thirty-nine  years  old.  His  best 
work  ought  to  have  been  before  him.  Had  he  lived 
and  worked  with  unclouded  brain  and  ardent  purpose 
during  the  tremendous  decades  that  followed,  what 
might  he  not  have  achieved  !  Who  can  compute  the 
loss  to  our  literature  from  his  untimely  death  ! 

"Go  on  with  your  work,  gentlemen  of  the  Uni 
versity  of  Virginia,  provide  a  fitting  memorial  to  Edgar 
Allan  Poe,  your  illustrious  son.  Young  gentlemen  of 
the  University,  do  your  part  in  this  good  work  —  and 
shun  the  rock  on  which  he  was  wrecked."  * 

Associated  with  these  striking  new  particulars  con 
nected  with  Poe's  last  sojourn  in  the  home  of  his 
youth,  may  well  be  added  the  following  statement 
from  the  gentleman  (now  living)  who  administered 
the  temperance  oath  to  Poe  while  he  was  there. 

617  E.  LEIGH  ST.,  RICHMOND,  VA., 
Dec.  4,  1900. 


DEAR  SIR,  —  Your  favor  of  the  a6th  ult.  I  have.  I 
regret  to  say  that  I  fear  I  can  contribute  very  little  that 
will  help  you  in  your  grand  undertaking,  that  of  placing 
fairly  before  the  people  the  bright  side  of  the  character  of 
the  poet  Poe.  About  fifty  years  ago  I  heard  Mr.  Poe 
deliver  a  lecture  at  the  Exchange  Hotel  lecture-room  this 
city.  I  did  not  meet  him  again  until  early  in  the  sum- 

1  Zolnay's  bust  of  Poe  was  unveiled  with  brilliant  ceremonies 
in  the  Public  Hall  of  the  University,  October  7,  1899.  Mr. 
Hamilton  W.  Mabie,  the  guest  of  the  Poe  Association,  delivered 
a  masterly  address  on  "  Poe's  Place  in  American  Literature." 


mer  of  1 849.  He  made  his  home  at  the  old  Swan  Tavern 
(now  standing  on  Broad  Street  between  Eighth  and  Ninth 
north  side).  There  he  made  the  acquaintance  of  some 
member  or  members  of  the  Division  of  the  Sons  of 
Temperance  (this  was  a  large  organization  previous  to 
the  war  of  '61— '65)5  he  was  proposed  for  membership, 
elected,  and  initiated  about  the  ist  of  July,  1849.  The 
position  I  held  in  the  Division  made  it  my  duty  to  ad 
minister  to  the  candidate  the  obligation  of  total  absti 
nence.  During  his  stay  in  the  city  of  the  next  three 
months  or  more  there  was  not  the  least  intimation  that 
he  had  failed  to  live  up  to  his  obligation.  In  October 
he  started  to  Baltimore  (as  was  reported  and  generally 
believed  to  make  preparation  for  his  marriage  to  Mrs. 
Shelton,  who  as  Miss  Royster  was  a  sweetheart  of  earlier 
life).  A  few  days  later  we  heard  of  his  death  at  a  hos 
pital  in  that  city,  and  the  statement  was  made  and  too 
busily  circulated  that  his  death  was  the  result  of  a  spree 
commenced  as  soon  as  he  reached  Baltimore.  We  of 
the  temperance  order  to  which  he  belonged  exerted  our 
selves  to  get  at  the  facts,  and  the  consensus  of  opinion 
was  that  he  had  not  been  drinking,  but  had  been  drugged. 
A  gentleman  by  the  name  of  Benson,  born  in  Baltimore 
in  1811,  and  living  there  until  he  was  twenty -one  years 
old,  went  to  Baltimore,  and,  as  he  knew  Poe  and  felt 
much  interest  in  the  manner  of  his  death,  went  to  the 
hospital  at  which  he  died,  and  had  a  talk  with  the  doctor 
(an  acquaintance),  who  told  him  that  Poe  had  not  been 
drinking  when  brought  to  the  hospital,  but  was  under  the 
influence  of  a  drug  ;  he  added  that  he  suggested  the  use 
of  stimulants,  but  that  Mr.  Poe  positively  declined  tak 
ing  any.  Mr.  Poe  lived  very  quietly  while  here.  Some 
stories  were  told  like  the  following,  showing  eccentricity: 
"  He  left  with  a  Broad  Street  shoe  merchant  (who  was  also 
a  member  of  the  above  mentioned  order,  and  of  the  same 
division  of  which  our  friend  had  become  a  member)  a 
pair  of  boots  for  repairs.  Our  shoe  merchant  was  sur 
prised  a  few  mornings  later  at  being  knocked  up  by  the 
VOL.  i.  —  21 


poet  about  two  hours  before  daylight,  who  had  called  for 
the  boots.  He  explained  that  as  he  was  out  walking  he 
thought  to  get  the  boots  then  would  save  him  another 

I  have  stated  only  such  facts  in  regard  to  Mr.  Poe's 
last  visit  as  I  was  in  some  manner  mixed  up  with,  and 
only  wish  they  were  of  such  a  character  as  to  be  useful 
to  you. 

Very  Respectfully  Yours, 

W.  J.  GLENN. 

Bishop  Fitzgerald  mentions  two  important  circum 
stances  not  hitherto  known  of  Poe  :  that  he  was  to  be 
literary  editor  of  "The  Examiner  "  and  had  already 
contributed  critical  articles  to  it,  and  that  be  left  Rich 
mond  with  $1,500  in  bis  pocket.  The  possession  of 
this  money  throws  significant  light  on  the  theory  that 
he  was  drugged. 

"  The  evening  of  the  day,"  reports  Mrs.  Weiss, 
"  previous  to  that  appointed  for  his  departure  from 
V  Richmond,  Poe  spent  at  my  mother's.  He  declined 
to  enter  the  parlors,  where  a  number  of  visitors  were 
assembled,  saying  he  preferred  the  more  quiet  sitting- 
\f  room  ;  and  here  I  had  a  long  and  almost  uninterrupted 
conversation  with  him.  He  spoke  of  his  future,  seem 
ing  to  anticipate  it  with  an  eager  delight,  like  that  of 
youth.  He  declared  that  the  last  few  weeks  in  the 
society  of  his  old  and  new  friends  had  been  the  hap 
piest  that  he  had  known  for  many  years,  and  that 
when  he  again  left  New  York,  he  should  there  leave 
behind  all  the  trouble  and  vexation  of  his  past  life. 
On  no  occasion  had  I  seen  him  so  cheerful  and  hope 
ful  as  on  this  evening.  '  Do  you  know,'  he  inquired, 
*  how  I  spent  most  of  this  morning  ?  In  writing  a 
critique  of  your  poems  to  be  accompanied  by  a  bio- 


graphical  sketch.  I  intend  it  to  be  one  of  my  best, 
and  that  it  shall  appear  in  the  second  number  of  "  The 
Stylus"' — so  confident  was  he  in  regard  to  this 
magazine.  In  the  course  of  the  evening  he  showed 
me  a  letter  just  received  from  '  his  friend,  Dr.  Gris- 
wold,'  in  reply  to  one  but  recently  written  by  Poe, 
wherein  the  latter  had  requested  Dr.  Griswold  in  case  • 
of  his  sudden  death  to  become  his  literary  executor. 
In  this  reply,  Dr.  Griswold  accepted  the  proposal, 
expressing  himself  as  much  flattered  thereby,  and  writ 
ing  in  terms  of  friendly  warmth  and  interest.  It  will 
be  observed  that  this  statement  is  a  contradiction  of 
his  statement  that  previous  to  Poe's  death  he  had  had 
no  intimation  of  the  latter' s  intention  of  appointing  him 
his  literary  executor. 

"  In  speaking  of  his  own  writings,  Poe  expressed 
his  conviction  that  he  had  written  his  best  poems,  but 
that  in  prose  he  might  yet  surpass  what  he  had  already 
accomplished.  He  admitted  that  much  which  he  had 
said  in  praise  of  certain  writers  was  not  the  genuine 
expression  of  his  opinions.  .  .  .  '  You  must  not  judge 
of  me  by  what  you  find  me  saying  in  the  magazines. 
Such  expressions  of  opinion  are  necessarily  modified 
by  a  thousand  circumstances,  the  wishes  of  editors, 
personal  friendship,  etc.' 

"  Poe  expressed  great  regret  in  being  compelled  to 
leave  Richmond,  on  even  so  brief  an  absence.      He 
would   certainly,    he  said,     be  back    in    two   weeks. 
He  thanked  my  mother  with  graceful   courtesy  and    ;, 
warmth  for  her  kindness  and  hospitality,  and  begged     • 
that  we  would  write  to  him  in  New  York,  saying  it 
would  do  him  good. 

"  He  was  the  last  of  the  party  to  leave  the  house. 
We  were  standing  on  the  portico,  and  after  going  a  \ 

324  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

few  steps  he  paused,  turned,  and  again  lifted  his  hat, 
in  a  last  adieu!  At  the  moment,  a  brilliant  meteor 
appeared  in  the  sky  directly  over  his  head,  and  van 
ished  in  the  east.  We  commented  laughingly  upon  the 
^rj — •  incident;  but  I  remembered  it  sadly  afterwards." 

The  prophetic  words  of  "  Ulalume  "  immediately 
recur : 

"  The  skies  they  were  ashen  and  sober  5 
The  leaves  they  were  crisped  and  sere, 
The  leaves  they  were  withering  and  sere ; 
It  was  night  in  the  lonesome  October 
Of  my  most  immemorial  year.' ' 

October  somehow  seems  mystically  entangled  with 
the  poet's  fate,  just  as  the  great  dirge  of  "  The  Raven, ' ' 
which  Dore  has  transformed  into  a  magic  and  ardent 
Passion  Play  of  Shadow-Land,  swarming  with  the 
>-*  mystic  imagery  of  Dreams,  seemingly  points  in  its 
"  bleak  December,"  to  the  month  in  which  the 
poet's  mother  died  in  Richmond. 

"As  he  was  about  to  leave  Richmond,  he  turned  to 
Mr.  Thompson,  saying,  '  By  the  way,  you  have  been 
very  kind  to  me, — here  is  a  little  trifle  that  may 
be  worth  something  to  you '  ;  and  he  handed  Mr. 
Thompson  a  small  roll  of  paper,  upon  which  were 
written  the  exquisite  words  of  'Annabel  Lee.'  "  l 

Just  a  little  while  before,  on  St.  Valentine's  Day, 
1849,  he  wrote  to  his  friend  Thomas  :  "Right  glad 
am  I  to  find  you  once  more  in  a  true  position  —  in 
the  field  of  Letters.  Depend  upon  it,  after  all, 
Thomas,  Literature  is  the  most  noble  of  professions. 
In  fact,  it  is  about  the  only  one  fit  for  a  man.  For 
my  part,  there  is  no  seducing  me  from  the  path.  I 

1  Gill's  Life  of  Poe  :  Chatto  and  Windus  :   1878  :  p.  231. 


shall  be  a  Litterateur  at  least  all  my  life ;  nor  would 
I  abandon  the  hopes  which  still  lead  me  on  for  all  the 
gold  in  California  [the  Argonaut  "  craze  "  was  just 
then  starting  and  the  whole  country  was  aflame  with 
fabulous  reports  from  the  western  Golconda].  Talk 
ing  of  gold,  and  of  the  temptations  at  present  held 
out  to  '  poor-devil  authors, '  did  it  ever  strike  you  that 
all  which  is  really  valuable  to  a  man  of  letters  —  to  a 
poet  in  especial  —  is  absolutely  unpurchasable  ?  Love, 
fame,  the  dominion  of  intellect,  the  consciousness  of 
power,  the  thrilling  sense  of  beauty,  the  free  air  of 
Heaven,  exercise  of  body  and  mind,  with  the  physical 
and  moral  health  which  result  —  these  and  such  as 
these  are  really  all  that  a  poet  cares  for:  then  answer 
me  this  —  why  should  he  go  to  California  ?  " 

Life  seemed  bewilderingly  bright  —  almost  as  bright 
as  the  fairy  landscapes  of  "Arnheim  "  and  "The  Island 
of  the  Fay"  painted  it  —  now  that  he  had  arranged 
with  a  Mr.  E.  H.  W.  Patterson,  of  Oquawka,  Illi 
nois,  for  the  simultaneous  publication,  in  St.  Louis  and 
New  York,  of  "The  Stylus,"  to  appear  in  July, 
1850.  Meanwhile,  there  were  dark  sides  to  the  pic 
ture:  Mrs.  Clemm  was  actually  suffering,  as  she  wrote 
Griswold,  for  the  necessaries  of  life,  and  begged  a 
small  loan  from  the  supposed  friend  ;  neither  "  Annie  ' ' 
nor  "  Estelle  "  had  yet  come  to  the  rescue  as  they 
so  nobly  did,  later. 

But  the  wedding-ring  was  ready,  and  the  scene  so 
exquisitely  pre-figured  in  "The  Bridal  Ballad"  —  with 
the  situation  of  bride  and  groom  reversed  —  was  about 
to  take  place  :  only  a  dress-coat  was  still  wanting,  to 
make  Richmond,  the  scene  of  the  first  marriage,  the 
scene  of  a  second  and  happier  one.  Much,  and  elo 
quently,  as  Poe  had  written  against  second  marriages 

326  EDGAR  ALLAN    POE. 

—  in  "  Ligeia  "  for  instance,  and  "The  Bridal  Bal 
lad  ' '  —  he  was  about  to  embark  on  one  himself,  the 
same  match  from  which,  a  year  before,  he  had  been 
mysteriously  recalled  by  the  reception  of  two  anony 
mous  stanzas  from  Mrs.  Whitman  when  he  was  in 
Richmond  on  the  same  mission.  Apparently,  he  did 
not  remember  his  own  prophetic  and  incisive  words : 

"Would  God  I  could  awaken! 

For  I  dream  I  know  not  how, 
And  my  soul  is  sorely  shaken 
Lest  an  evil  step  be  taken, 
Lest  the  dead  who  is  forsaken 

May  not  be  happy  now." 

"  The  [last]  night,"  continues  Mrs.  Weiss,  "he 
/spent  at  Duncan's  Lodge  [the  home  of  the  Macken- 
\f  zies,  who  had  adopted  his  sister] ;  and  as  his  friends 
said,  sat  late  at  his  window,  meditatively  smoking,  and 
seemingly  disinclined  for  conversation.  On  the  fol 
lowing  morning,  he  went  into  the  city,  accompanied 
by  his  friends,  Dr.  Gibbon  Carter  and  Dr.  Mackenzie. 
,  /  The  day  was  passed  with  them  and  others  of  his  in 
timate  friends.  Late  in  the  evening  he  entered  the 
office  of  Dr.  John  Carter,  and  spent  an  hour  in  look 
ing  over  the  day's  papers;  then  taking  Dr.  Carter's 
cane  he  went  out,  remarking  that  he  would  step  across 
to  Saddler's  (a  fashionable  restaurant)  and  get  supper. 
From  the  circumstance  of  his  taking  the  cane,  leaving 
his  own  in  its  place,  it  is  probable  he  had  intended 
to  return  ;  but  at  the  restaurant  he  met  with  some 
acquaintances  who  detained  him  until  late,  and  then 
accompanied  him  to  the  Baltimore  boat.  According 
to  their  accounts,  he  was  quite  sober  and  cheerful  to 
the  last,  remarking,  as  he  took  leave  of  them,  that  he 
would  soon  be  in  Richmond  again." 





ACCORDING  to  even  modern  standards,  Poe  could 
not  have  reached  Baltimore  by  the  James  River  and 
Chesapeake  Bay — Patapsco  route — under  from  twenty- 
four  to  twenty-eight  hours  ;  then,  when  steam  navi 
gation  was  so  much  slower  and  more  imperfect,  it 
must  have  required  much  longer.  At  present  a  steamer 
leaves  Richmond  at  6  or  7  A.  M.  and  reaches  Old 
Point  at  5  or  6  P.  M.  ;  the  fast  Bay  steamers  then 
reach  Washington  about  five  or  six  in  the  morning,  the 
Baltimore  route  being  even  longer. 

Possibly  he  met  on  this  rather  prolonged  and  tedious 
water-trip    persons    who    induced    him    to    break  his    v 
pledge  :  one  does  not  know. 

The  following  note  from  Dr.  William  Hand  Browne 
to  the  author  is  self-explanatory  and  also  explanatory 
of  the  last  act  in  the  tragedy  : 

"  The  following  is  an  exact  copy  of  the  pencil  note 
sent  to  Dr.  Snodgrass  to  notify  him  of  the  condition 
in  which  Poe  was.  The  writer,  J.  W.  Walker,  was 
(I  have  been  informed)  a  printer  of  Baltimore.  The 
note  was  copied  by  myself  from  the  original  in  the 
possession  of  Mrs.  Snodgrass,  widow  of  Poe's  friend. 
Dr.  Snodgrass,  on  receipt  of  the  note,  hastened  to  \j 

328  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

attend  Poe,  and  finding  him  in  a  dangerous  state,  had 
him  icrnoved  to  the  hospital,  where  he  died.  W.  H. 

BALTIMORE  CITY,  3d,  1849. 

DEAR  SIR, — There  is  a  gentleman,  rather  the  worse  for 
wear,  at  Ryan's  4th  ward  polls,  who  goes  under  the  cogno 
men  of  Edgar  A.  Poe,  and  who  appears  in  great  distress, 
and  he  says  he  is  acquainted  with  you,  and  I  assure  you  he 
is  in  need  of  immediate  assistance. 

Yours  in  haste, 

Jos.   W.   WALKER. 
To  Dr.  J.  E.  SNODGRASS. 

What  preluded  the  situation  above  pictured  is  a 
matter  of  supposition.  One  report  is  that  Poe  started 
for  Philadelphia  by  rail  and  got  as  far  as  Havre  de 
Grace,  when,  falling  into  a  stupor,  he  was  brought 
back  to  Baltimore  and  fell  into  the  hands  of  political 
toughs  at  Ryan's  Fourth  Ward  Polls,  was  drugged, 
and  carried  round  from  polls  to  polls  in  the  interests  of 
the  Whig  party.  Dr.  Snodgrass's  own  garrulous  and 
garbled  account  of  the  affair  in  "Beadle's  Monthly  " 
for  1867  — "The  Facts  of  Poe's  Death  and  Burial" 
—  has  been  shown  by  an  intelligent  writer  (Mr. 
Spencer)  in  the  New  York  "Herald,"  March  27, 
1 88 1,  to  be  wholly  untrustworthy.  This  gentleman 
had  the  whole  Poe-Snodgrass  correspondence  in  his 
possession  and  copied  and  printed  in  "The  Herald  "  1 
many  interesting  extracts  from  it,  including  the  "  coop 
letter.' '  We  quote  from  it  the  following  : 

"The  compositor  (Walker)  was  well-known  among 
the  earlier  printers  upon  the  Baltimore  '  Sun. '  He 
was  afterwards  drowned  while  swimming  in  the  Spring 

1  Kindly  lent  the  author  by  Miss  A.  F.  Poe,  of  Baltimore. 


Gardens.  The  tavern  to  which  reference  was  made 
[in  Dr.  Snodgrass 's  account]  was  in  East  Lombard 
Street,  a  door  or  two  east  of  High  Street.  Dr.  Snod- 
grass  himself  lived  on  High  Street  at  that  time,  within 
a  block  or  two  of  the  tavern,  and  it  was  probably  his 
immediate  proximity  as  much  as  anything  else,  which 
prompted  Walker  to  send  for  him.  Poe  was  mani 
festly  very  ill,  though  he  did  not  die  until  the  follow 
ing  Sunday  morning  (this  note  was  written  on  Wednes-  '/ 
day  night) ....  It  will  be  noticed  that,  in  spite  of 
the  fact  that  Snodgrass  had  the  original  of  this  note  in 
his  possession,  he  preferred  to  quote  it  from  memory, 
and  in  so  doing,  utterly  perverted  its  contents.  He 
gave  the  wrong  day  of  the  month,  the  wrong  day  of 
the  week,  the  wrong  name  for  the  tavern,  and  an  ab 
solutely  false  and  illusory  statement  of  the  printer's 
representations  as  to  Poe's  condition.  'A  gentleman 
rather  the  worse  for  wear,'  who  '  appears  in  great  dis 
tress/  and  is  in  evident  « need  of  immediate  assist 
ance,  '  is  put  down  as  being  '  in  a  state  of  beastly 
intoxication  and  evident  destitution.'  Walker  speaks 
of  a  gentleman  and  stranger,  who  is  so  ill  as  to  excite 
his  sympathy  and  cause  alarm  ;  Snodgrass  makes  him 
speak  of  a  drunken  and  penniless  loafer.  Griswold, 
of  course,  makes  worse  out  of  Snodgrass's  bad  enough. 
He  assigns  Thursday,  October  4,  as  the  day,  speaks 
of  a  '  night  of  exposure  and  insanity,'  etc.,  'resolu 
tions  and  duties  forgotten,'  and  all  the  rest  of  an  in 
famous  rigmarole. 

"  What  are  the  actual  facts  in  regard  to  Edgar  A. 
Poe's  death?  The  Baltimore  <  Sun '  of  October  8, 
i  849,  has  only  this  announcement  : 

"  '  We  regret  to  learn  that  Edgar  A.  Poe,  Esq.,  the'/ 
distinguished  American  poet,  scholar,  and  critic,  died 

330  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

in  this  city  yesterday  morning,  after  an  illness  of 
four  or  five  days.  This  announcement,  coming  so 
sudden  and  unexpected,  will  cause  poignant  regret 
among  all  who  admire  genius  and  have  sympathies 
for  the  frailties  too  often  attending  it.  Mr.  Poe,  we 
believe,  was  a  native  of  this  State,  though  reared  by  a 
foster-father  at  Richmond,  Va.,  where  he  lately  spent 
some  time  on  a  visit.  He  was  in  the  thirty-eighth 
year  of  his  age.' 

"Let  us    suppose,"  continues  Mr.   Spencer,    not 

;  noticing  the  errors  as  to  the  place   and  time  of  Foe's 

j  birth,   "  that    Poe    arrived  in  Baltimore  on   Wednes- 

-    day,    October  3,  1849,    not   entirely  free    from    the 

effects  of  bad   hours  in  the  capital  of  Virginia.      He 

must    have  reached  the  city   in    the    forenoon,    and, 

whether  he  came  by  rail  or  by  steamboat,  he  would  have 

naturally  and  almost  instinctively  gone  to  the  United 

States  Hotel  (the   present  Maltby  House),  opposite 

which,  at   that  time,  was  the  depot  of  the  Baltimore 

and  Ohio  Railroad. 

"  Poe  was  a  Whig  in  politics.  There  was  an  elec 
tion  going  on  that  day,  a  very  wet  and  disagreeable 
one,  for  members  of  Congress  and  members  of  the 
^*  State  Legislature.  If  Poe  had  been  drinking  at  all, 
and  it  is  altogether  likely  that  he  had,  he  would  talk, 
and  on  election  day  all  men  talk  politics. 

"  Eight  blocks  east  of  the  hotel  where  he  [presum 
ably]  was,  was  High  Street,  and  in  the  rear  of  an 
engine-house  in  this  vicinity  the  'Fourth  Ward  Club,' 
a  notorious  Whig  organization,  had  their  '  coop. ' 
There  was  no  registry  of  voters  at  this  time  in  Balti 
more,  and  almost  any  one  could  vote  who  was  willing 
to  face  the  ordeal  of  a  '  challenge  '  and  the  oath  ad 
ministered  by  a  judge  of  elections.  Hence,  personal 


voting  '  material '  was  valuable,  and  the  roughs  of  the 
period,  instead  of  acting  as  rounders  themselves,  used 
to  capture  and  'coop'  innocent  strangers  and  foreigners, 
drug  them  with  bad  whiskey  and  opiates,  and  send 
them  round  to  the  different  voting-places  under  custody 
of  one  or  two  of  their  party,  '  to  help  the  cause.'  The 
system  of  '  cooping  '  probably  culminated  in  this  year, 
1849,  and,  if  the  writer's  memory  does  not  play  him 
a  trick,  the  <  coop  '  of  the  Democrats  on  Lexington 
Street,  near  Eutaw,  in  the  rear  of  the  «  New  Market' 
engine-house,  had  75  prisoners,  while  that  of  the 
Whigs,  on  High  Street,  had  130  to  140  —  the  equiv 
alent  of  600  votes. 

"The  prisoners  in  these  «  coops/  chiefly  foreigners, 
strangers,  countrymen,  fared  wretchedly.  They  were 
often,  at  the  outstart,  and  in  the  most  unexpected  way, 
drugged  with  opiates  and  such  other  delirifaciants  as 
would  be  most  likely  to  keep  them  from  being  trouble 
some  and  prevent  them  from  resenting  their  outrageous 
treatment.  They  were  thrust  into  cellars  and  back 
yards,  and  kept  under  lock  and  key,  without  light, 
without  beds,  without  provisions  for  decency,  without 
food.  Only  one  thing  they  were  supplied  with,  and 
that  was  a  sufficient  deluge  of  whiskey  to  keep  their 
brains  all  the  time  sodden,  and  prevent  them  from  im 
parting  intelligibility  to  their  complaints. 

"The  Whig  'coop'  in  the  Fourth  Ward,  on  High 
Street,  was  within  two  squares  of  the  place  where  Poe 
was  '  found. '  It  is  altogether  possible  .  .  .  that 
Poe  was  '  cooped  '  and  that  his  outlaw  custodians, 
discovering  too  late  the  disastrous  effects  of  their  infa 
mous  decoctions  upon  the  delicate  tissues  and  convolu 
tions  of  his  finely  organized  brain,  sought  to  repair  some 
of  the  damage  they  had  done,  and  caused  in'quiry  to  be 

332  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

made  for  the  friends  of  the  man  they  had  murdered. 
Too  late  ! 

"Poe  was  taken  that  night  to  the  hospital,  which  is 
now  called  the  '  Church  Home  *  (on  North  Broad 
way),  suffering  from  a  violent  brain  fever  of  a  conges 
tive  character.  He  never  recovered  consciousness,  he 
made  no  dying  speeches  and  remarks,  and  his  little 
candle,  which  now  shines  so  far,  went  out  very  briefly 
about  daybreak  on  Sunday  morning,  October  7." 

Such  were  in  all  probability  the  environing  circum 
stances  of  the  death  of  the  great  lyrist. 

Of  Dr.  J.  J.  Moran's  account  of  the  poet's  last 
hours  and  his  dying  declarations,1  written  thirty-five 
years  after  the  events,  one  can  say  that  it  is  romanti 
cally  interesting,  but  not  convincing.  Judge  Neilson 
Poe,  his  third  cousin,  who  was  at  the  hospital  con 
stantly  until  he  died,  asserted  that  he  never  regained 
consciousness.  Dr.  Snodgrass,  who  wrote  in  1867, 
seventeen  years  after  the  catastrophe,  asserts  that  he 
was  conscious,  and  adds  (if  we  may  believe  them) 
the  following  particulars  :  — 

"  The  Washington  Hospital  having  been  fixed  upon, 
a  messenger  was  despatched  to  procure  a  carriage. 
While  awaiting  its  arrival,  I  had  an  opportunity  to  ob 
serve  more  closely  than  I  had  taken  time  to  do  pre 
viously,  the  condition  and  apparel  of  the  strangely 
metamorphosed  being  in  the  bar-room  who  wore  a 
name  which  was  a  synonym  for  genius  —  the  first 
glance  at  whose  tout  ensemble  was  well  calculated  to 
recall  Poe's  own  so  frequently  hinted  doctrine  of  the 

1  A  Defence  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe  :  Life,  Character,  and  Dying 
Declarations  of  the  Poet  :  An  Official  Account  of  his  Death  by  his 
Attending  Physician,  John  J.  Moran,  M.D.,  Washington,  D.C. : 


metempsychosis.  His  face  was  haggard,  not  to  say 
bloated  and  unwashed,  his  hair  unkempt,  and  his 
whole  physique  repulsive.  His  expansive  forehead, 
with  its  wonderful  breadth  between  the  points  where 
the  phrenologists  locate  the  organ  of  ideality  —  the 
widest  I  ever  measured  —  and  that  full-orbed  and 
mellow  yet  soulful  eye,  for  which  he  was  so  notice 
able  when  himself,  now  lustreless  and  vacant,  as 
shortly  I  could  see,  were  shaded  from  view  by  a  rusty, 
almost  brimless,  tattered  and  ribbonless  palm-leaf  hat. 
His  clothing  consisted  of  a  sack-coat  of  thin  and  slazy 
black  alpaca,  ripped  more  or  less  at  several  of  its 
seams,  and  faded  and  soiled,  and  pants  of  a  steel-mixed 
pattern  of  cassinette,  half-worn  and  badly-fitting,  if 
they  could  be  said  to  fit  at  all.  He  wore  neither  vest 
nor  neck-cloth,  while  the  bosom  of  his  shirt  was  both 
crumpled  and  badly  soiled.  On  his  feet  were  boots 
of  coarse  material,  and  giving  no  sign  of  having  been 
blacked  for  a  long  time,  if  at  all. 

"  The  carriage  having  arrived,  we  tried  to  get  the 
object  of  our  care  upon  his  feet,  so  that  he  might  the 
more  easily  be  taken  to  it.  But  he  was  past  locomotion. 
We  therefore  carried  him  to  the  coach  as  if  he  were  a 
corpse,  and  lifted  him  in  in  the  same  manner.  While 
we  were  doing  this,  what  was  left  of  one  of  the  most 
remarkable  embodiments  of  genius  the  world  has  pro 
duced  in  all  the  centuries  of  its  history — the  author  of 
a  single  poem  which  alone  has  been  adjudged  by  more 
than  one  critic  as  entitling  its  producer  to  a  lasting  and 
enviable  fame  —  was  so  utterly  voiceless  as  to  be 
capable  of  only  muttering  some  scarcely  intelligible 
oaths,  and  other  forms  of  imprecation  upon  those 
who  were  trying  to  rescue  him  from  destitution  and 

334  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

"  The  carriage  was  driven  directly  to  the  hospital, 
where  its  unconscious  occupant  was  assigned  to  the 
care  of  its  intelligent  and  kindly  resident  physician 
[Dr.  J.  J.  Moran] . 

"...  He  lived  nearly  a  week,  instead  of  dying 
'  next  day,'  as  one  account  has  it,  or  in  a  '  few  hours,' 
as  another  records  it,  dying  on  the  yth  of  the  same 
month,  Monday  [Sunday] .  Besides,  it  might  convey 
the  idea  that  he  had  no  lucid  moments.  But  he  had, 
and  in  one  of  these  an  incident  transpired  which,  while 
its  mention  may  serve  to  extend  the  already  long,  as 
well  as  interesting  record  of  the  last  words  of  noted 
men,  it  will  be  recognized  as  anything  but  character 
istic  of  Mr.  Poe,  who  was  always  haunted  by  a  terri 
ble  though  vague  apprehension  of  death  and  the  grave. 
When  the  hospital  physician  became  satisfied  that  the 
author  of '  William  Wilson  '  —  a  favorite  tale  of  Mr. 
Poe  —  and  of  <  The  Raven  '  —  had  written  his  last 
story  and  his  last  poem,  he  addressed  him  concernedly 
and  kindly,  saying :  «  Mr.  Poe,  it  is  my  painful  duty 
to  inform  you  that  you  have,  in  my  judgment,  only  a 
very  short  time  to  live.  If  you  have  any  friends  whom 
you  would  like  to  see,  name  them,  and  your  wish  shall 
be  gratified  ;  I  will  summon  them.' 

"  <  Friends  ! '  exclaimed  the  dying  son  of  genius  — 
'  friends  !  '  repeating  the  word  for  a  moment  as  if  it 
had  no  longer  a  definite  meaning  ;  {  my  best  friend 
would  be  he  who  would  take  a  pistol  and  blow  out 
these  d — d  wretched  brains!  '  pressing  his  hand  to  his 
forehead  as  he  uttered  the  awful  imprecation." 

Fortunately,  however,  we  are  not  dependent  upon 
Dr.  Snodgrass's  harrowing  account  as  our  sole  testi 
mony  for  Poe's  last  hours  :  there  is  in  existence  a  let 
ter  from  Dr.  J.  J.  Moran  to  Mrs.  Clemm,  written  five 


or  six  weeks  after  the  event,  which  gives  an  account 
of  bare  facts  without  the  romantic  coloring  of  Dr. 
Moran's  later  statement,  at  the  same  time  relieving 
the  sufferer  of  the  stain  of  dying  with  an  imprecation 
on  his  lips : 

November  15,  '49. 


MY  DEAR  MADAM,  —  I  take  the  earliest  opportunity 
of  responding  to  yours  of  the  gth  inst.,  which  came  to 
hand  by  yesterday's  mail.  .  .  . 

But  now  for  the  required  intelligence.  Presuming  you 
are  already  aware  of  the  malady  of  which  Mr.  Poe  died, 
I  need  only  state  concisely  the  particulars  of  his  circum 
stances  from  his  entrance  until  his  decease. 

When  brought  to  the  hospital  he  was  unconscious  of 
his  condition  —  who  brought  him  or  with  whom  he  had 
been  associating.  He  remained  in  this  condition  from 
five  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  —  the  hour  of  his  admis 
sion —  until  three  next  morning.  This  was  on  the  3d 

To  this  state  succeeded  tremor  of  the  limbs,  and  at 
first  a  busy  but  not  violent  or  active  delirium  —  constant 
talking  —  and  vacant  converse  with  spectral  and  imagi 
nary  objects  on  the  walls.  His  face  was  pale  and  his 
whole  person  drenched  in  perspiration.  We  were  un 
able  to  induce  tranquillity  before  the  second  day  after  his 

Having  left  orders  with  the  nurses  to  that  effect,  I 
was  summoned  to  his  bedside  so  soon  as  consciousness 
supervened,  and  questioned  him  in  reference  to  his  family, 
place  of  residence,  relatives,  etc.  But  his  answers  were 
incoherent  and  unsatisfactory.  He  told  me,  however, 
he  had  a  wife  in  Richmond  (which  I  have  since  learned 
was  not  the  fact),  that  he  did  not  know  when  he  left  that 
city,  or  what  had  become  of  his  trunk  of  clothing. 
Washing  to  rally  and  sustain  his  now  fast  sinking  hopes, 

336  EDGAR   ALLAN   POE. 

I  told  him  I  hoped  that  in  a  few  days  he  would  be  able 
to  enjoy  the  society  of  his  friends  here,  and  I  would  be 
most  happy  to  contribute  in  every  possible  way  to  his 
ease  and  comfort.  At  this  he  broke  out  with  much 
energy,  and  said  the  best  thing  his  best  friend  could  do 
would  be  to  blow  out  his  brains  with  a  pistol  —  that 
when  he  beheld  his  degradation,  he  was  ready  to  sink  into 
the  earth,  etc.  Shortly  after  giving  expression  to  these 
words,  Mr.  Poe  seemed  to  doze,  and  I  left  him  for  a 
short  time.  When  I  returned  I  found  him  in  a  violent 
delirium,  resisting  the  efforts  of  two  nurses  to  keep  him 
in  bed.  This  state  continued  until  Saturday  evening  (he 
was  admitted  on  Wednesday),  when  he  commenced  call 
ing  for  one  "  Reynolds,"  1  which  he  did  through  the  night 
until  three  on  Sunday  morning.  At  this  time  a  very 
decided  change  began  to  affect  him.  Having  become 
enfeebled  from  exertion,  he  became  quiet,  and  seemed  to 
rest  for  a  short  time ;  then  gently  moving  his  head,  he 
said,  "  Lord  help  my  poor  soul!"  and  expired. 

This,  Madam,  is  as  faithful  an  account  as  I  am  able 
to  furnish  from  the  Record  of  his  case. 

.  .  .  His  remains  were  visited  by  some  of  the  first 
individuals  of  the  city,  many  of  them  anxious  to  have  a 
lock  of  his  hair.  .  .  . 

Respectfully  yours, 

J.  J.  MORAN,  Res.  P/tys.2 

His  relatives,  Judge  Neilson  Poe  and  Mr.  Henry 
Herring,  took  charge  of  the  remains,  which  were 
buried  Monday  afternoon  in  the  churchyard  attached 
to  Westminster  Presbyterian  Church,  corner  of  Fay- 
ette  and  Greene  Streets,  the  Rev.  W.  T.  D.  Clemm 

1  This  Reynolds  may  have  been  the  author  of  the  "Address  on 
the  South  Sea  Expedition" — a  project  in  which  Poe  was  deeply 
interested  and  which  doubtless  gave  him  ideas  for  '  f  Arthur  Gordon 

2  Miss  A.  F.  Poe,  MS. 


reading  the  burial  service  of  the  Methodist  Episcopal 
church.  Only  a  few  friends  witnessed  the  solemn 
rites,  among  them  his  class-mate  at  the  University  of 
Virginia,  Hon.  Z.  Collins  Lee,  Poe's  cousin,  Edmund 
Smith,  Dr.  Snodgrass,  the  officiating  clergyman,  and 
Mr.  N.  Poe. 

His  trunk  and  clothes  were  sought  in  vain  :  they 
had  most  probably  been  stolen. 

The  writer  is  enabled  to  supplement  these  state 
ments  by  the  following  interesting  recollections  of 
Mrs.  J.  J.  Moran,  furnished  him  by  her  nephew,  Mr. 
J.  B.  Green,  of  the  University  of  Virginia: 

"  Mrs.  Mary  O.  Moran,  wife  of  the  physician  in 
charge  of  Washington  College  Hospital,  Baltimore, 
where  Poe  died,  made  substantially  the  following 
statement  as  to  his  last  hours.  *  When  the  young  man 
was  brought  into  the  hospital  in  a  stupor,  it  was  sup 
posed  he  was  overcome  by  drink.  It  was  election 
time,  and  the  city  was  very  disorderly.  We  soon  saw 
he  was  a  gentleman  ;  and  as  our  family  lived  in  a 
wing  of  the  college  building,  the  doctor  had  him 
taken  to  a  room  easily  reached  by  a  passage  from  our 
wing.  I  helped  to  nurse  him  here,  and  during  an 
interval  of  consciousness  he  asked  if  there  was  any 
hope  for  him.  Thinking  he  referred  to  his  physical 
condition,  I  said,  "My  husband  thinks  you  are  very 
ill,  and  if  you  have  any  directions  to  give  regarding 
your  affairs  I  will  write  them  down."  He  replied, 
"  I  meant,  hope  for  a  wretch  like  me,  beyond  this 
life."  I  assured  him  that  the  Great  Physician  said 
there  was.  I  then  read  him  the  fourteenth  chapter  of 
St.  John's  Gospel,  gave  him  a  quieting  draught,  wiped 
the  beads  of  perspiration  from  his  face,  smoothed  his 
pillow,  and  left  him.  Not  long  afterwards  they 
VOL.  i.  —  22 

338  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

brought  me  a  message  that  he  was  dead.      I  made  his 
shroud  and  helped  to  prepare  his  body  for  burial.'  " 

"It  is  impossible,'*  says  Mr.  Ingram,  in  conclud 
ing  his  sympathetic  Memoir  —  the  fullest  and  best 
of  the  biographies  of  Poe  —  "  to  conceive  the  horror 
and  heart-rending  grief  of  Mrs.  Clemm  when  the 
intelligence  of  Poe's  death  was  conveyed  to  her.  She 
was  awaiting  his  arrival,  to  bear  her  away  to  her 
native  South,  and  instead  of  welcoming  an  affectionate 
son — happy  in  the  prospect  of  an  anticipated  mar 
riage  and  a  prosperous  future  —  she  received  the  tid 
ings  of  his  terrible  and  mysterious  death.  In  the 
first  moments  of  her  loneliness  and  anguish  she  wrote 
to  her  best  friend,  for  sympathy,  in  these  terms  : 

Oct.  8,  1849. 

Annie,  my  Eddy  is  dead.  He  died  in  Baltimore 
yesterday.  Annie  !  pray  for  me,  your  desolate  friend. 
My  senses  nvill  leave  me.  I  will  write  the  moment  I 
hear  the  particulars.  I  have  written  to  Baltimore.  Write 
and  advise  me  what  to  do. 

Your  distracted  friend, 

M.  C. 

"  Writing  again  on  the  1 3th  ol  October  to  the 
same  faithful  friend,  Mrs.  Clemm  says  : 

"  «  MY  OWN  DEAREST  ANNIE,  —  I  am  not  deceived 
in  you.  You  still  wish  your  poor  desolate  friend  to 
come  to  you.  ...  I  have  written  to  poor  Elmira  [Mrs. 
Shelton],  and  have  to  wait  for  her  answer.  They  are 
already  making  arrangements  to  publish  the  works  of  my 
darling  lost  one.  I  have  been  waited  on  by  several  gen 
tlemen,  and  have  finally  arranged  with  Mr.  Griswold  to 
arrange  and  bring  them  out,  and  he  wishes  it  done  imme 
diately.  Mr.  Willis  is  to  share  with  him  this  labor  of 


love.  They  say  that  I  am  to  have  the  entire  proceeds, 
so  you  see,  Annie,  I  will  not  be  entirely  destitute.  I 
have  had  many  letters  of  condolence,  and  one  which  has, 
indeed,  comforted  me.  Neilson  Poe,  of  Baltimore,  has 
written  to  me,  and  says  he  died  in  the  Washington  Med 
ical  College,  not  the  Hospital,  and  of  congestion  of  the 
brain,  and  not  of  what  the  vile,  vile  papers  accuse  him. 
He  had  many  kind  friends  with  him,  and  was  attended 
to  his  grave  by  the  literati  of  Baltimore,  and  many 
friends.  Severe  excitement  (and  no  doubt  some  impru 
dence)  brought  this  on  ;  he  never  had  one  interval  of 
reason.  .  .  .  Never,  oh,  never,  will  I  see  those  dear 
lovely  eyes.  I  feel  so  desolate,  so  wretched,  friendless, 
and  alone. ,'  "  1 

The  poor  old  woman,  now  advanced  in  years, 
became  literally  a  wanderer  on  the  face  of  the  earth, 
accepting,  first,  the  hospitality  of  "Annie/'  at  Lowell, 
Mass.,  with  whom  she  resided  for  a  few  months 
("years,"  says  Ingram),  and  then  staying  with 
"Stella,"  in  Brooklyn,  until  I  858, 2  when  she  removed 
to  Baltimore.  There  she  died  in  "  the  Church 
Home  and  Infirmary,"  February  16,  1871,  more 
than  80  years  of  age  —  the  very  place  where  her 
"Eddy"  had  died. 

At  Poe's  death  a  few  papers  and  articles  of  a  mis 
cellaneous  nature  were  found  in  the  hands  of  publishers 
and  editors,  and  two  of  his  most  striking  poems  — 
"The  Bells"  and  "Annabel  Lee"  —  came  sud 
denly  to  the  surface,  drawn  thither  by  the  solemn 
reverberation  of  the  news  of  the  poet's  death.  "  Sar- 
tain's  Union  Magazine  "  for  November  contained  the 
final  version  of  "The  Bells,"  the  design  of  which, 

1  Ingram,  II.  p.  239. 

2  Edgar  Allan  Poe  :   A  Memorial  Volume  :    1875  :  p.  86. 

340  EDGAR   ALLAN    POE. 

as  he  informed  the  poet  Thompson,  was  "to  express 
in  language  the  exact  sounds  of  bells  to  the  ear"; 
and  the  "Southern  Literary  Messenger  "  for  November 
contained  "Annabel  Lee,"  prefaced  by  the  following 
words  : 

"  The  day  before  he  [Poe]  left  Richmond,  he 
placed  in  our  hands  for  publication  in  the  '  Messenger ' 
the  MS.  of  his  last  poem,  which  has  since  found  its 
way  (through  a  correspondent  of  a  northern  paper 
with  whom  Mr.  Poe  had  left  a  copy)  into  the  news 
paper  press,  and  been  extensively  circulated.  As  it 
was  designed  for  this  magazine,  however,  we  publish 
it,  even  though  all  of  our  readers  may  have  seen  it 

It  seems  strange  that  this  tender  and  beautiful  ballad 
should  appear  in  "  The  Tribune  "  for  Oct.  9,  1849, 
almost  side  by  side  with  the  attack  on  Poe's  memory 
now  known  to  have  been  written  by  Griswold  —  a 
poem  in  every  line  refuting  the  anonymous  assault 
whose  "intense  energy  of  delineation  "  is  pronounced 
"a  piece  of  writing  that  has  the  power  of  genius  and 
cannot  be  forgotten  while  his  memory  lives." 

In  "Graham's"  for  January,  1850,  appeared  a 
paper  "  On  Critics  and  Criticism,"  and  this  was  fol 
lowed  in  October  by  "The  Poetic  Principle, ' *  in 
"  Sartain's  Union  Magazine"  ;  completing  the  tally  of 
Poe's  works  which,  even  after  death,  streamed  forth  in 
these  puissant  channels  and  taught  the  world  not  only 
what  he  conceived  to  be  the  true  theory  of  poetry  but 
exemplified  it  in  two  wondrous  poems.  "The  singu 
lar  and  exquisite  genius  of  Poe,"  as  Swinburne  calls 
it,  was  thus  singular  and  exquisite  to  the  last  breath. 

1  So.  Lit.  Mess.  The  Late  Edgar  A.  Poe:  Nov.  1849,  p.  697. 




THE  following  document  possesses  a  curious  in 
terest,  being  Poe's  own  account  of  his  early  life  as 
furnished  by  him  to  Dr.  Rufus  Wilmot  Griswold. 
The  MS.  is  in  the  possession  of  Mrs.  Wm.  M. 
Griswold,  of  Cambridge,  Mass.,  daughter-in-law  of 
Dr.  Griswold,  by  whose  courtesy  it  is  here  printed 
for  the  first  time.  The  reader  should  compare  it 
with  the  letter  by  Poe  on  his  ancestry  to  be  found 
in  our  Volume  XVII.,  dated  August  20,  1835. 

The  Memorandum  abounds  in  inaccuracies.  The 
birth-date  is  wrong  by  two  years  :  Poe  was  born  in 
1809.  The  elder  Mrs.  Poe  did  not  die  of  "con 
sumption"  but  of  pneumonia.  Mr.  Allanjnever  le 
gally  f  f  adopted  ' '  Poe,  b.ut  befriended  and  reare3TIiim 
and  gave  him  a  home.  This  statement  is  confirmed 
by  Mrs.  S.  A.  Weiss  and  Dr.  John  F.  Carter,  who 
are  still  living  and  who  knew  Poe  and  the  Allans  inti 
mately.  Poe  remained  only  one  year  (1826,  not 
1825)  at  the  University  oTTirginia,  not  "three/' 
as  he  states  in  the  Memorandum.  The  University  of 
Virginia  never  had  a  "president;  "  its  executive  offi 
cer  is  the  Chairman  of  the  Faculty.  The  runaway 
trip  to  Russia  is  altogether  mythical  :  Poe  was  a  pri 
vate  and  then  a  sergeant-major  in  the  UnitecT  States 
army,  under  the  name  of  Edgar  A.  Perry,  from  May 
26,  1827,  to  April  15,  1829,  when,  having  supplied 
a  substitute,  he  was  honorably  discharged.  Mr.  Allan 


was  not  so  old  as  Poe  makes  him  out  to  be  on  his  sec 
ond  marriage,  and  he  left  three  children,  not  "  one 
son,"  to  inherit  his  large  estate.  It  would  be  most 
interesting  to  know  what  ''two  British  journals  "  Poe 
"  wrote  continuously  for, "  "  whose  names  he  was  not 
permitted  to  mention."  No  traces  of  these  contri 
butions  have  been  found  ;  perhaps  they  were  never 


Memo.  Born  January,  1 8 1 1 .  Family  one  of  the 
oldest  and  most  respectable  in  Baltimore.  Gen.  David 
Poe,  my  paternal  grandfather,  was  a  quarter-master 
general,  in  the  Maryland  line,  during  the  Revolution, 
and  the  intimate  friend  of  Lafayette,  who,  during  his 
visit  to  the  U.  S.,  called  personally  upon  the  Gen.'s 
widow,  and  tendered  her  his  warmest  acknowledg 
ments  for  the  services  rendered  him  by  her  husband. 
His  father,  John  Poe,  married,  in  England,  Jane,  a 
daughter  of  Admiral  James  McBride,  noted  in  British 
naval  history,  and  claiming  kindred  with  many  of  the 
most  illustrious  houses  of  Great  Britain.  My  father 
and  mother  died  within  a  few  weeks  of  each  other, 
of  consumption,  leaving  me  an  orphan  at  two  years  of 
age.  Mr.  John  Allan,  a  very  wealthy  gentleman  of 
Richmond,  Va.,  took  a  fancy  to  me,  and  persuaded 
my  grandfather,  Gen.  Poe,  to  suffer  him  to  adopt 
me.  Was  brought  up  in  Mr.  A.'s  family,  and  re 
garded  always  as  his  son  and  heir  —  he  having  no 
other  children.  In  1816  went  with  Mr.  A.'s  family 
to  G.  Britain  —  visited  every  portion  of  it  —  went  to 
school  for  5  years  to  the  Rev.  Doctor  Bransby,  at 
Stoke  Newington,  then  4  miles  from  London.  Re- 


turned  to  America  in  1822.  In  1825  went  to  the 
Jefferson  University  at  Charlottesville,  Va.,  where  for 
3  years  I  led  a  very  dissipated  life  —  the  college  at 
that  period  being  shamefully  dissolute.  Dr.  Dungli- 
son  of  Philadelphia,  President.  Took  the  first  honors, 
however,  and  came  home  greatly  in  debt.  Mr.  A. 
refused  to  pay  some  of  the  debts  of  honor,  and  I  ran 
away  from  home  without  a  dollar  on  a  quixotic  expe 
dition  to  join  the  Greeks,  then  struggling  for  liberty. 
Failed  in  reaching  Greece,  but  made  my  way  to  St. 
Petersburg,  in  Russia.  Got  into  many  difficulties, 
but  was  extricated  by  the  kindness  of  Mr.  H.  Middle- 
ton,  the  American  consul  at  St.  P.  Came  home  safe 
in  1829,  found  Mrs.  A.  dead,  and  immediately  went 
to  West  Point  as  a  Cadet.  In  about  18  months 
afterwards  Mr.  A.  married  a  second  time  (a  Miss 
Patterson,  a  near  relative  of  Gen.  Winfield  Scott)  — 
he  being  then  65  years  of  age.  Mrs.  A.  and  myself 
quarrelled,  and  he,  siding  with  her,  wrote  me  an 
angry  letter,  to  which  I  replied  in  the  same  spirit. 
Soon  afterwards  he  died,  having  had  a  son  by  Mrs. 
A.,  and,  although  leaving  a  vast  property,  bequeathed 
me  nothing.  The  army  does  not  suit  a  poor  man  — 
so  I  left  W.  Point  abruptly,  and  threw  myself  upon 
literature  as  a  resource.  I  became  first  known  to  the 
literary  world  thus.  A  Baltimore  weekly  paper  (The 
Visiter)  offered  two  premiums  —  one  for  best  prose 
story,  one  for  best  poem.  The  Committee  awarded 
both  to  me,  and  took  occasion  to  insert  in  the  journal 
a  card,  signed  by  themselves,  in  which  I  was  very 
highly  flattered.  The  Committee  were  John  P.  Ken 
nedy  (author  of  Horse-Shoe  Robinson),  J.  H.  B. 
Latrobe  and  Dr.  I.  H.  Miller.  Soon  after  this  I  was 
invited  by  Mr.  T.  W.  White,  proprietor  of  the 


South.  Lit.  Messenger,  to  edit  it.  Afterwards  wrote 
for  New  York  Review  at  the  invitation  of  Dr.  Hawks 
and  Professor  Henry,  its  proprietors.  Lately  have 
written  articles  continuously  for  two  British  journals 
whose  names  I  am  not  permitted  to  mention.  In  my 
engagement  with  Burton,  it  was  not  my  design  to  let 
my  name  appear  —  but  he  tricked  me  into  it. 

Written   on   half  sheet   evidently  used    for  an  en 
velope,  marks  of  seal  left  on  back,  stamp,  "  (paid) 
i  J.  B."  x  part  of  an  address,  severed  by  scissors-cut  : 
"Id,  Esare., 


Mass."  T 



THE  late  Edgar  Allan  Poe,  who  was  the  husband 
of  my  only  daughter,  the  son  of  my  eldest  brother, 
and  more  than  a  son  to  myself,  in  his  long  continued 
and  affectionate  observance  of  every  duty  to  me, — 
under  an  impression  that  he  might  be  called  suddenly 
from  the  world,  wrote  (just  before  he  left  his  home  in 
Fordham,  for  the  last  time,  on  the  29th  of  June,  I  849) 
requests  that  the  Rev.  Rufus  W.  Griswold  should  act 
as  his  Literary  Executor,  and  superintend  the  publica 
tion  of  his  works  ;  —  and  that  N.  P.  Willis,  Esq., 
should  write  such  observations  upon  his  life  and  char 
acter,  as  he  might  deem  suitable  to  address  to  thinking 
men,  in  vindication  of  his  memory. 

These  requests  he  made  with  less  hesitation,  and 

1  This  edition  of  Poe's  works  was  copyrighted  by  J.  S.  Red- 
field  in  1849,  appearing  first  in  two  volumes,  then  with  a  third 
volume  containing  the  notorious  Memoir,  and  finally  ending  with 
a  fourth  and  last  volume  in  1856.  It  will  be  noticed  that  Mrs. 
Clemm's  preface  is  prefixed  gratefully  to  the  volumes  that  had  no 
Memoir,  she  apparently  never  having  been  cognizant  of  Griswold' s 
intention  to  write  her  nephew's  life  :  Mrs.  Estelle  Anna  Lewis 
had  been  specially  requested  by  Poe  himself,  when  they  parted,  to 
do  this,  and  N.  P.  Willis  had  been  invited  to  assist  with  a  bio 
graphical  Notice.  This  appeared  in  "The  Home  Journal"  the 
Saturday  afrer  Poe  died,  and  is  incorporated  with  James  Russell 
Lowell's  sketch  in  the  1849  edition.  See  succeeding  pages  for  the 
Griswold,  Willis,  and  Lowell  articles. 

What  must  have  been  the  poor  lady's  horror  and  indignation 
when  she  read  the  Memoir,  "a  concentration  of  hatred  and  malice 
that  had  already  done  duty  ...  in  the  *  International  Maga 
zine  '  "  !  After  reading  it,  she  never  ceased  to  speak  of  its  author 
as  ' '  that  villain. ' '  —  ED. 


with  confidence  that  they  would  be  fulfilled,  from  his 
knowledge  of  these  gentlemen  ;  and  he  many  times 
expressed  a  gratification  of  such  an  opportunity  of  de 
cidedly  and  unequivocally  certifying  his  respect  for  the 
literary  judgment  and  integrity  of  Mr.  Griswold,  with 
whom  his  personal  relations,  on  account  of  some  un 
happy  misunderstanding,  had  for  years  been  inter 

In  this  edition  of  my  son's  works,  which  is  pub 
lished  for  my  benefit,  it  is  a  great  pleasure  for  me  to 
thank  Mr.  Griswold  and  Mr.  Willis  for  their  prompt 
fulfilment  of  the  wishes  of  the  dying  poet,  in  labors 
which  demanded  much  time  and  attention,  and  which 
they  have  performed  without  any  other  recompense 
than  the  happiness  which  rewards  acts  of  duty  and 
kindness.  I  add  to  these  expressions  of  gratitude  to 
them,  my  acknowledgments  to  J.  R.  Lowell,  Esquire, 
for  his  notices  of  Mr.  Poe's  genius  and  writings  which 
are  here  published.  MARIA  CLEMM. 

BY  R.  W.  GRiswoLD.1 

[New  York  Tribune  (Evening  Edition),  October  9,  1849.] 

Edgar  Allan  Poe  is  dead.  He  died  in  Baltimore 
the  day  before  yesterday.  This  announcement  will 

1  On  April  2,  1850,  Walter  Colton  wrote  to  Griswold  as  fol 
lows:  "1  have  read  your  criticism  on  E.  A.  Poe;  it  is  terrific, 
but  not  more  so  than  the  moral  aspects  of  your  subject.  In  lit 
erary  execution  it  rivals  the  best  passages  in  Macaulay.  I  knew 


startle  many,  but  few  will  be  grieved  by  it.  The  poet 
was  well  known  personally  or  by  reputation,  in  all 
this  country  ;  he  had  readers  in  England,  and  in  sev 
eral  of  the  states  of  Continental  Europe  ;  but  be  bad 
few  or  no  friends ;  and  the  regrets  for  his  death  will 
be  suggested  principally  by  the  consideration  that  in 
him  literary  art  lost  one  of  its  most  brilliant,  but  erratic 

The  family  of  Mr.  Poe,  we  learn  from  Griswold's 
"Poets  and  Poetry  of  America,"  from  which  a  con 
siderable  portion  of  the  facts  in  this  notice  are  derived, 
was  one  of  the  oldest  and  most  respectable  in  Balti 
more.  David  Poe,  his  paternal  grandfather,  was  a 
Quartermaster-General  in  the  Maryland  line  during 
the  Revolution,  and  the  intimate  friend  of  Lafayette, 
who  during  his  last  visit  to  the  United  States,  called 
personally  upon  the  General's  widow,  and  tendered 
her  acknowledgments  for  the  services  rendered  to  him 
by  her  husband.  His  great-grandfather,  John  Poe, 
married  in  England,  Jane,  a  daughter  of  Admiral 
James  McBride,  noted  in  British  naval  history,  and 
claiming  kindred  with  some  of  the  most  illustrious 
English  families.  His  father  and  mother, —  both  of 
whom  were  in  some  way  connected  with  the  theatre, 
and  lived  as  precariously  as  their  more  gifted,  and 
more  eminent  son, —  died  within  a  few  weeks  of  each 
other,  of  consumption,  leaving  him  an  orphan  at  two 
years  of  age.  Mr.  John  Allan,  a  wealthy  gentleman 
of  Richmond,  took  a  fancy  to  him,  and  persuaded  his 
grandfather  to  suffer  him  to  adopt  him.  He  was 
brought  up  in  Mr.  Allan's  family  ;  and  as  that  gentle- 
something  of  POP  —  something  of  the  unfathomed  gulfs  of  dark 
ness  out  of  which  the  lightning  of  his  genius  sent  its  scorching 
flashes.  ..." 


man  had  no  other  children,  he  was  regarded  as  his 
son  and  heir.  In  1 8 1 6  he  accompanied  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Allan  to  Great  Britain,  visited  every  portion  of 
it,  and  afterward  passed  four  or  five  years  in  a  school 
kept  at  [Stoke]  Newington,  near  London,  by  Rev. 
Dr.  Bransby.  He  returned  to  America  in  1822,  and 
in  1825  went  to  the  Jefferson  University,  at  Charlottes- 
ville,  in  Virginia,  where  he  led  a  very  dissipated  life, 
the  manners  of  the  College  at  that  time  being  extremely 
dissolute.  He  took  the  first  honors,  however,  and 
went  home  greatly  in  debt.  Mr.  Allan  refused  to 
pay  some  of  his  debts  of  honor,  and  he  hastily  quitted 
the  country  on  a  quixotic  expedition  to  join  the 
Greeks,  then  struggling  for  liberty.  He  did  not 
reach  his  original  destination,  however,  but  made  his 
way  to  St.  Petersburg,  in  Russia,  when  he  became  in 
volved  in  difficulties,  from  which  he  was  extricated  by 
the  late  Henry  Middleton,  the  American  Minister  at 
that  Capital.  He  returned  home  in  1829,  and  imme 
diately  afterwards  entered  the  Military  Academy  at 
West- Point.  In  about  eighteen  months  from  that 
time,  Mr.  Allan,  who  had  lost  his  first  wife  while 
Mr.  Poe  was  in  Russia,  married  again.  He  was 
sixty-five  years  of  age,  and  the  lady  was  young  ;  Poe 
quarrelled  with  her,  and  the  veteran  husband,  taking 
the  part  of  his  wife,  addressed  him  an  angry  letter, 
which  was  answered  in  the  same  spirit.  He  died  soon 
after,  leaving  an  infant  son  heir  to  his  property,  and 
bequeathing  Poe  nothing. 

The  army,  in  the  opinion  of  the  young  poet,  was 
not  a  place  for  a  poor  man  ;  so  he  left  West  Point 
abruptly,  and  determined  to  maintain  himself  by  au 
thorship.  He  printed,  in  1827,  a  small  volume  of 
poems,  most  of  which  were  written  in  early  youth. 


Some  of  these  poems  are  quoted  in  a  reviewal  by  Mar 
garet  Fuller,  in  The  Tribune  in  1 846,  and  are  justly 
regarded  as  among  the  most  wonderful  exhibitions  of 
the  precocious  developments  of  genius.  They  illus 
trated  the  character  of  his  abilities,  and  justified  his 
anticipations  of  success.  For  a  considerable  time, 
however,  though  he  wrote  readily  and  brilliantly,  his 
contributions  to  the  journals  attracted  little  attention, 
and  his  hopes  of  gaining  a  livelihood  by  the  profession 
of  literature  was  nearly  ended  at  length  in  sickness, 
poverty  and  despair. 

But  in  1 83 1,1  the  proprietor  of  a  weekly  gazette, 
in  Baltimore,  offered  two  premiums,  one  for  the  best 
story  in  prose,  and  the  other  for  the  best  poem. 

In  due  time  Poe  sent  in  two  articles,  and  he  waited 
anxiously  for  the  decision.  One  of  the  Committee 
was  the  accomplished  author  of  "  Horseshoe  Robin 
son,"  John  P.  Kennedy,  and  his  associates  were 
scarcely  less  eminent  than  he  for  wit  and  critical  sagac 
ity.  Such  matters  were  usually  disposed  of  in  a  very 
off-hand  way  ;  committees  to  award  literary  prizes 
drink  to  the  payer's  health,  in  good  wines,  over  the  un- 
examined  MSS.,  which  they  submit  to  the  discretion 
of  the  publisher,  with  permission  to  use  their'names 
in  such  a  way  as  to  promote  the  publisher's  advan 
tage.  So  it  would  have  been  in  this  case,  but  that  one 
of  the  Committee,  taking  up  a  small  book,  in  such  ex 
quisite  caligraphy  as  to  seem  like  one  of  the  finest  issues 
of  the  press  of  Putnam,  was  tempted  to  read  several 
pages,  and  being  interested,  he  summonsed  the  atten 
tion  of  the  company  to  the  half-dozen  compositions  in 
the  volume.  It  was  unanimously  decided  that  the 
i  1833.— ED. 


prizes  should  be  paid  to  the  first  of  geniuses  who 
had  written  legibly.  Not  another  MS.  was  unfolded. 
Immediately  the  confidential  envelope  was  opened, 
and  the  successful  competitor  was  found  to  bear  the 
scarcely  known  name  of  Poe. 

The  next  day  the  publisher  called  to  see  Mr.  Ken 
nedy,  and  gave  him  an  account  of  the  author  that  ex 
cited  his  curiosity  and  sympathy,  and  caused  him  to 
request  that  he  should  be  brought  to  his  ofHce.  Ac 
cordingly  he  was  introduced  ;  the  prize  money  had 
not  yet  been  paid,  and  he  was  in  the  costume  in 
which  he  had  answered  the  advertisement  of  his  good 
fortune.  Thin,  and  pale  even  to  ghastliness,  his 
whole  appearance  indicated  sickness  and  the  utmost 
destitution.  A  tattered  frock-coat  concealed  the  ab 
sence  of  a  shirt,  and  the  ruins  of  boots  disclosed  more 
than  the  want  of  stockings.  But  the  eyes  of  the  young 
man  were  luminous  with  intelligence  and  feeling,  and 
his  voice  and  conversation,  and  manners,  all  won  upon 
the  lawyer's  regard.  Poe  told  his  history,  and  his  am 
bitions,  and  it  was  determined  that  he  should  not  want 
means  for  a  suitable  appearance  in  society,  nor  oppor 
tunity  for  a  just  display  of  his  abilities  in  literature. 
Mr.  Kennedy  accompanied  him  to  a  clothing  store, 
and  purchased  for  him  a  respectable  suit,  with  changes 
of  linen,  and  sent  him  to  a  bath,  from  which  he  re 
turned  with  the  suddenly  regained  bearing  of  a  gentle 

The  late  Mr.  Thomas  W.  White  had  then  recently 
established  The  Southern  Literary  Messenger,  at  Rich 
mond,  and  upon  the  warm  recommendation  of  Mr. 
Kennedy,  Poe  was  engaged  at  a  small  salary  —  we 
believe  of  $500  a  year  —  to  be  its  editor.  He  en 
tered  upon  his  duties  with  letters  full  of  expressions  of 


the  warmest  gratitude  to  his  friends  in  Baltimore,  who 
in  five  or  six  weeks  were  astonished  to  learn  that  with 
characteristic  recklessness  of  consequence,  he  was  hur 
riedly  married  to  a  girl  as  poor  as  himself.  Poe  con 
tinued  in  this  situation  for  about  a  year  and  a  half,  in 
which  he  wrote  many  brilliant  articles,  and  raised  the 
Messenger  to  the  first  rank  of  literary  periodicals. 

He  next  removed  to  Philadelphia,  to  assist  William 
E.  Burton  in  the  editorship  of  the  Gentleman' s  Maga 
zine,  a  miscellany  that  in  1840  was  merged  in  Gra 
ham's  Magazine,  of  which  Poe  became  one  of  the 
principal  writers,  particularly  in  criticism,  in  which 
his  papers  attracted  much  attention  by  their  careful  and 
skilful  analysis,  and  general  caustic  severity.  At  this 
period,  however,  he  appeared  to  have  been  more  am 
bitious  of  securing  distinction  in  romantic  fiction,  and 
a  collection  of  his  compositions  in  this  department,  pub 
lished  in  i  84 1,1  under  the  title  of  Tales  of  the  Gro 
tesque  and  the  Arabesque,  established  his  reputation 
for  ingenuity,  imagination,  and  extraordinary  power 
in  tragical  narration. 

Near  the  end  of  1844  Poe  removed  to  New  York, 
where  he  conducted  for  several  months  a  literary  mis 
cellany  called  the  Broadway  Journal.  In  1845  he 
published  a  volume  of  "Tales"  in  Wiley  and  Put 
nam's  "  Library  of  American  Books  ;"  and  in  the  same 
series  a  collection  of  his  poems.  Besides  these  poems 
he  was  the  author  of  "Arthur  Gordon  Pym,"  a  ro 
mance  ;  "Eureka,"  an  essay  on  the  spiritual  and 
material  universe  ;  a  work  which  he  wishes  to  have 
"judged  as  a  poem  ;  "  and  several  extended  series  of 
papers  in  the  periodicals,  the  most  noteworthy  of  which 
are  "  Marginalia,"  embracing  opinions  of  books  and 

1  1840.  —  ED. 
VOL.  i.  —  23 


authors  ;  "  Secret  Writing,"  "Autography;"  and 
"Sketches  of  the  Literati  of  New  York." 

His  wife  died  in  1847,  at  Fordham,  near  this  city, 
and  some  of  our  readers  will  remember  the  paragraphs 
in  the  papers  of  the  time,  upon  his  destitute  condition. 
We  remember  that  Col.  Webb  collected  in  a  few 
moments  fifty  or  sixty  dollars  for  him  at  the  Metropolitan 
Club ;  Mr.  Lewis,  of  Brooklyn,  sent  a  similar  sum 
from  one  of  the  courts,  in  which  he  was  engaged 
when  he  saw  the  statement  of  the  poet's  poverty ;  and 
others  illustrated  in  the  same  manner  the  effect  of  such 
an  appeal  to  the  popular  heart. 

Since  that  time  Mr.  Poe  had  lived  quietly,  and  with 
an  income  from  his  literary  labors  sufficient  for  his  sup 
port.  A  few  weeks  ago  he  proceeded  to  Richmond, 
in  Virginia,  where  he  lectured  upon  the  poetical  char 
acter,  etc.  ;  and  it  was  understood  by  some  of  his 
correspondents  here  that  he  was  this  week  to  be  married, 
most  advantageously,  to  a  lady  of  that  city,  a  widow, 
to  whom  he  had  been  previously  engaged  while  a  stu 
dent  in  the  University. 

The  character  of  Mr.  Poe  we  cannot  attempt  to 
describe  in  this  very  hastily  written  article.  We  can 
but  allude  to  some  of  the  more  striking  phases. 

His  conversation  was  at  times  almost  supra-mortal 
in  its  eloquence.  His  voice  was  modulated  with  as 
tonishing  skill,  and  his  large  and  variably  expressive 
eyes  looked  repose  or  shot  fiery  tumult  into  theirs  who 
listened,  while  his  own  face  glowed  or  was  changeless 
in  pallor,  as  his  imagination  quickened  his  blood,  or 
drew  it  back  frozen  to  his  heart.  His  imagery  was 
from  the  worlds  which  no  mortal  can  see  but  with  the 
vision  of  genius.  Suddenly  starting  from  a  proposition 
exactly  and  sharply  defined  in  terms  of  utmost  sim- 


plicity  and  clearness,  he  rejected  the  forms  of  customary 
logic,  and  in  a  crystalline  process  of  accretion,  built  up 
his  ocular  demonstrations  in  forms  of  gloomiest  and 
ghostliest  grandeur,  or  in  those  of  the  most  airy  and 
delicious  beauty,  so  minutely,  and  so  distinctly,  yet 
so  rapidly,  that  the  attention  which  was  yielded  to 
him  was  chained  till  it  stood  among  his  wonderful  cre 
ations  —  till  he  himself  dissolved  the  spell,  and  brought 
his  hearers  back  to  common  and  base  existence, 
by  vulgar  fancies  or  by  exhibitions  of  the  ignoble 

He  was  at  times  a  dreamer  —  dwelling  in  ideal 
realms  —  in  heaven  or  hell,  peopled  with  creations 
and  the  accidents  of  his  brain.  He  walked  the  streets, 
in  madness  or  melancholy,  with  lips  moving  in  indis 
tinct  curses,  or  with  eyes  upturned  in  passionate 
prayers,  (never  for  himself,  for  he  felt,  or  professed  to 
feel,  that  he  was  already  damned, )  but  for  their  happi 
ness  who  at  that  moment  were  objects  of  his  idolatry; 
or  with  his  glance  introverted  to  a  heart  gnawed  with 
anguish,  and  with  a  face  shrouded  in  gloom,  he  would 
brave  the  wildest  storms  ;  and  all  night,  with  drenched 
garments  and  arms  wildly  beating  the  wind  and  rain, 
he  would  speak  as  if  to  spirits  that  at  such  times  only 
could  be  evoked  by  him  from  that  Aidenn  close  by 
whose  portals  his  disturbed  soul  sought  to  forget  the 
ills  to  which  his  constitution  subjected  him  —  close  by 
that  Aidenn  where  were  those  he  loved  —  the  Aidenn 
which  he  might  never  see  but  in  fitful  glimpses,  as  its 
gates  opened  to  receive  the  less  fiery  and  more  happy 
natures  whose  listing  to  sin  did  not  involve  the  doom 
of  death.  He  seemed,  except  when  some  fitful  pursuit 
subjected  his  will  and  engrossed  his  faculties,  always  to 
bear  the  memory  of  some  controlling  sorrow.  The  re- 


markable  poem  of  The  Raven  was  probably  much 
more  nearly  than  has  been  supposed,  even  by  those 
who  were  very  intimate  with  him,  a  reflection  and  an 
echo  of  his  own  history.  He  was  the  bird's 

—  unhappy  master, 
Whom  unmerciful  disaster 
Followed  fast  and  followed  faster 
Till  his  song  the  burden  bore  — 
Melancholy  burden  bore 
Of  "  Nevermore,"  of  "  Nevermore." 

Every  genuine  author  in  a  greater  or  less  degree 
leaves  in  his  works,  whatever  their  design,  traces  of 
his  personal  character  ;  elements  of  his  immortal  being, 
in  which  the  individual  survives  the  person.  While 
we  read  the  pages  of  the  Fall  of  the  House  of  Usher, 
or  of  Mesmeric  Revelation,  we  see  in  the  solemn  and 
stately  gloom  which  invests  one,  and  in  the  subtle 
metaphysical  analysis  of  both,  indications  of  the  idio- 
syncracies,  —  of  what  was  most  peculiar  —  in  the  au 
thor's  intellectual  nature.  But  we  see  here  only  the 
better  phases  of  this  nature,  only  the  symbols  of  his 
juster  action,  for  his  harsh  experience  had  deprived 
him  of  all  faith  in  man  or  woman. 

He  had  made  up  his  mind  upon  the  numberless 
complexities  of  the  social  world,  and  the  whole  sys 
tem  was  with  him  an  imposture.  This  conviction 
gave  a  direction  to  his  shrewd  and  naturally  unamiable 
character.  Still  though  he  regarded  society  as  com 
posed  of  villains,  the  sharpness  of  his  intellect  was  not 
of  that  kind  which  enabled  him  to  cope  with  villainy, 
while  it  continually  caused  him  overshots,  to  fail  of  the 
success  of  honesty.  He  was  in  many  respects  like 
Francis  Vivian  in  Bulwer's  novel  of  the  "  Caxtons." 
Passion,  in  him,  comprehended  many  of  the  worst 


emotions  which  militate  against  human  happiness.  You 
could  not  contradict  him,  but  you  raised  quick  choler; 
you  could  not  speak  of  wealth,  but  his  cheek  paled 
with  gnawing  envy.  The  astonishing  natural  advan 
tage  of  this  poor  boy  —  his  beauty,  his  readiness,  the 
daring  spirit  that  breathed  around  him  like  a  fiery  at 
mosphere  —  had  raised  his  constitutional  self-confidence 
into  an  arrogance  that  turned  his  very  claims  to  admi 
ration  into  prejudice  against  him.  Irascible,  envious  — 
bad  enough,  but  not  the  worst,  for  these  salient  angles 
were  all  varnished  over  with  a  cold  repellant  cynicism 
while  his  passions  vented  themselves  in  sneers.  There 
seemed  to  him  no  moral  susceptibility  ;  and  what  was 
more  remarkable  in  a  proud  nature,  little  or  nothing 
of  the  true  point  of  honor.  He  had,  to  a  morbid 
excess,  that  desire  to  rise  which  is  vulgarly  called 
ambition,  but  no  wish  for  the  esteem  or  the  love  of  his 
species;  only  the  hard  wish  to  succeed — not  shine, 
not  serve  —  succeed,  that  he  might  have  the  right  to 
despise  a  world  which  galled  his  self-conceit. 

We  have  suggested  the  influence  of  his  aims  and 
vicissitudes  upon  his  literature.  It  was  more  conspic 
uous  in  his  later  than  his  earlier  writing.  Nearly  all 
that  he  wrote  in  the  last  two  or  three  years  —  including 
much  of  his  best  poetry  —  was  in  some  sense  biograph 
ical  ;  in  draperies  of  his  imagination,  those  who  had 
taken  the  trouble  to  trace  his  steps,  could  perceive,  but 
slightly  covered,  the  figure  of  himself. 

There  are  perhaps  some  of  our  readers  who  will 
understand  the  allusions  of  the  following  beautiful 
poem.  Mr.  Poe  presented  it  in  MS.  to  the  writer 
of  these  paragraphs,  just  before  he  left  New  York 
recently,  remarking  it  was  the  last  thing  he  had 


It  was  many  and  many  a  year  ago, 

In  this  kingdom  by  the  sea, 
That  a  maiden  there  lived  whom  you  may  know 

By  the  name  of  ANNABEL  LEE  ; 
And  this  maiden  she  lived  with  no  other  thought 

Than  to  love  and  be  loved  by  me. 

/was  a  child  and  she  was  a  child, 

In  this  kingdom  by  the  sea  ; 
And  we  loved  with  a  love  that  was  more  than  love  — 

I  and  my  ANNABEL  LEE  ; 
With  a  love  that  the  winged  seraphs  of  heaven 

Coveted  her  and  me. 

And  this  was  the  reason  that,  long  ago, 

In  this  kingdom  by  the  sea, 
A  wind  blew  out  of  a  cloud,  chilling 

My  beautiful  ANNABEL  LEE  j 
So  that  her  highborn  kinsman  came 

And  bore  her  away  from  me, 
To  shut  her  up  in  a  sepulchre 

In  this  kingdom  by  the  sea. 

The  Angels,  not  half  so  happy  in  heaven, 

Went  envying  her  and  me  — 
Yes  !  —  that  was  the  reason  (as  all  men  know, 

In  this  kingdom  by  the  sea) 
That  the  wind  came  out  of  the  cloud  by  night, 

Chilling  and  killing  my  ANNABEL  LEE. 

But  our  love  it  was  stronger  by  far  than  love 

Of  those  who  were  older  than  we  — 

Of  many  far  wiser  than  we  — 
And  neither  the  angels  in  heaven  above, 

Nor  the  demons  down  under  the  sea, 
Can  ever  dissever  my  soul  from  the  soul 

Of  the  beautiful  ANNABEL  LEE. 

For  the  moon  never  beams  without  bringing  me  dreams, 

Of  the  beautiful  ANNABEL  LEE  5 
And  the  stars  never  rise,  but  I  feel  the  bright  eyes 

Of  the  beautiful  ANNABEL  LEE  ; 


And  so,  all  the  night-tide,  I  lie  down  by  the  side 
Of  my  darling  —  my  darling  —  my  life  and  my  bride, 

In  the  sepulchre  there  by  the  sea, 

In  her  tomb  by  the  sounding  sea. 

We  must  omit  any  particular  criticism  of  Mr.  Poe's 
works.  As  a  writer  of  tales  it  will  be  admitted  gen 
erally,  that  he  was  scarcely  surpassed  in  ingenuity  of 
construction  or  effective  painting  ;  as  a  critic,  he  was 
more  remarkable  as  a  dissector  of  sentences  than  as  a 
commenter  upon  ideas.  He  was  little  better  than  a 
carping  grammarian.  As  a  poet,  he  will  retain  a  most 
honorable  rank.  Of  his  "Raven,"  Mr.  Willis  ob 
serves,  that  in  his  opinion,  "it  is  the  most  effective 
single  example  of  fugitive  poetry  ever  published  in  this 
country,  and  is  unsurpassed  in  English  poetry  for  subtle 
conceptions,  masterly  ingenuity  of  versification,  and 
consistent  sustaining  of  imaginative  lift."  In  poetry, 
as  in  prose,  he  was  most  successful  in  the  metaphysical 
treatment  of  the  passions.  His  poems  are  constructed 
with  wonderful  ingenuity, and  finished  with  consummate 
art.  They  illustrate  a  morbid  sensitiveness  of  feeling,  a 
shadowy  and  gloomy  imagination,  and  a  taste  almost 
faultless  in  the  apprehension  of  that  sort  of  beauty  most 
agreeable  to  his  temper. 

We  have  not  learned  the  circumstance  of  his  death. 
It  was  sudden,  and  from  the  fact  that  it  occurred  in 
Baltimore,  it  is  presumed  that  he  was  on  his  return  to 
New  York. 

"After  life's  fitful  fever  he  sleeps  well." 


1  "  Diary  :  Oct.  8  [1849].  Wrote,  hastily,  two  or  three  col 
umns  about  Poe,  ibr  the  'Tribune.' 

Diary:  Oct.  16.  —  Call  on  Mrs.  Lewis,  to  assort,  at  her 
home,  Poe's  papers. 

Diary  :  Oct.  17. — The  affairs  of  Poe."  —  Passages  from  the 
Correspondence  of  R.  W.  Griswold  :  1898  :  p.  2,52-3. 


DEATH   OF   EDGAR   A.   POE.1 

BY  N.  P.  WILLIS. 

The  ancient  fable  of  two  antagonistic  spirits  im 
prisoned  in  one  body  equally  powerful  and  having  the 
complete  mastery  by  turns  —  of  one  man,  that  is  to 
say,  inhabited  by  both  a  devil  and  an  angel  —  seems 
to  have  been  realized,  if  all  we  hear  is  true,  in  the 
character  of  the  extraordinary  man  whose  name  we 
have  written  above.  Our  own  impression  of  the 
nature  of  Edgar  A.  Poe  differs  in  some  important 
degree,  however,  from  that  which  has  been  generally 
conveyed  in  the  notices  of  his  death.  Let  us,  before 
telling  what  we  personally  know  of  him,  copy  a 
graphic  and  highly  finished  portraiture,  from  the  pen 
of  Dr.  Rufus  W.  Griswold,  which  appeared  in  a 
recent  number  of  the  Tribune:  — 2 

Apropos  of  the  disparaging  portion  of  the  above 
well-written  sketch,  let  us  truthfully  say  :  — 

Some  four  or  five  years  since,  when  editing  a  daily 
paper  in  this  city,  Mr.  Poe  was  employed  by  us,  for 
several  months,  as  critic  and  sub-editor.  This  was 
our  first  personal  acquaintance  with  him.  He  resided 
with  his  wife  and  mother  at  Fordham,  a  few  miles  out 
of  town,  but  was  at  his  desk  in  the  office  from  nine  in 
the  morning  till  the  evening  paper  went  to  press.  With 
the  highest  admiration  for  his  genius,  and  a  willingness 
to  let  it  atone  for  more  than  ordinary  irregularity,  we 
were  led  by  common  report  to  expect  a  very  capri- 

1  These  remarks  were  published  by  Mr.  Willis,  in  the  "  Home 
Journal,"  on  the  Saturday  following  Mr.  Poe's  death. 

2  The  preceding  Ludwig  article. 

DEATH   OF   EDGAR   A.   POE.  361 

cious  attention  to  his  duties,  and  occasionally  a  scene 
of  violence  and  difficulty.  Time  went  on,  however, 
and  he  was  invariably  punctual  and  industrious.  With 
his  pale,  beautiful,  and  intellectual  face  as  a  reminder 
of  what  genius  was  in  him,  it  was  impossible,  of 
course,  not  to  treat  him  always  with  deferential  cour 
tesy,  and  to  our  occasional  request  that  he  would  not 
probe  too  deep  in  a  criticism,  or  that  he  would  erase  a 
passage  colored  too  highly  with  his  resentments  against 
society  and  mankind,  he  readily  and  courteously  as 
sented,  —  far  more  yielding  than  most  men,  we 
thought,  on  points  so  excusably  sensitive.  With  a 
prospect  of  taking  the  lead  in  another  periodical,  he 
at  last  voluntarily  gave  up  his  employment  with  us, 
and  through  all  this  considerable  period  we  had  seen 
but  one  presentment  of  the  man,  —  a  quiet,  patient, 
industrious,  and  most  gentlemanly  person,  command 
ing  the  utmost  respect  and  good  feeling  by  his  un 
varying  deportment  and  ability. 

Residing  as  he  did  in  the  country,  we  never  met 
Mr.  Poe  in  hours  of  leisure  ;  but  he  frequently  called 
on  us  afterwards  at  our  place  of  business,  and  we  met 
him  often  in  the  street,  —  invariably  the  same  sad- 
mannered,  winning,  and  refined  gentleman  such  as  we 
had  always  known  him.  It  was  by  rumor  only,  up  to 
the  day  of  his  death,  that  we  knew  of  any  other  de 
velopment  of  manner  or  character.  We  heard,  from 
one  who  knew  him  well  (what  should  be  stated  in  all 
mention  of  his  lamentable  irregularities),  that,  with  a 
single  glass  of  wine,  his  whole  nature  was  reversed, 
the  demon  became  uppermost,  and,  though  none  of 
the  usual  signs  of  intoxication  were  visible,  his  will 
was  palpably  insane.  Possessing  his  reasoning  faculties 
in  excited  activity  at  such  times,  and  seeking  his  ac- 


quaintances  with  his  wonted  look  and  memory,  he 
easily  seemed  personating  only  another  phase  of  his 
natural  character,  and  was  accused,  accordingly,  of 
insulting  arrogance  and  bad-heartedness.  In  this  re 
versed  character,  we  repeat,  it  was  never  our  chance 
to  see  him.  We  know  it  from  hearsay,  and  we  men- 
don  it  in  connection  with  this  sad  infirmity  of  physical 
constitution,  which  puts  it  upon  very  nearly  the  ground 
of  a  temporary  and  almost  irresponsible  insanity. 

The  arrogance,  vanity,  and  depravity  of  heart  of 
which  Mr.  Poe  was  generally  accused  seem  to  us 
referable  altogether  to  this  reversed  phase  of  his  char 
acter.  Under  that  degree  of  intoxication  which  only 
acted  upon  him  by  demonizing  his  sense  of  truth  and 
right,  he  doubtless  said  and  did  much  that  was  wholly 
irreconcilable  with  his  better  nature  ;  but  when  him 
self,  and  as  we  knew  him  only,  his  modesty  and  un 
affected  humility,  as  to  his  own  deservings,  were 
a  constant  charm  to  his  character.  His  letters  (of 
which  the  constant  application  for  autographs  has  taken 
from  us,  we  are  sorry  to  confess,  the  greater  portion) 
exhibited  this  quality  very  strongly.  In  one  of  the 
carelessly  written  notes  of  which  we  chance  still  to 
retain  possession,  for  instance,  he  speaks  of  "  The 
Raven,"  —  that  extraordinary  poem  which  electrified 
the  world  of  imaginative  readers,  and  has  become  the 
type  of  a  school  of  poetry  of  its  own,  —  and,  in  evi 
dent  earnest,  attributes  its  success  to  the  few  words  of 
commendation  with  which  we  had  prefaced  it  in  this 
paper.  It  will  throw  light  on  his  sane  character  to 
give  a  literal  copy  of  the  note  :  — 

FORDHAM,  April  ao,  1849. 

MY  DEAR  WILLIS,  —  The  poem  which  I  enclose,  and 
which  I  am  so  vain  as  to  hope  you  will  like,  in  some 

DEATH   OF   EDGAR  A.   POE.  363 

respects,  has  been  just  published  in  a  paper  for  which 
sheer  necessity  compels  me  to  write,  now  and  then.  It 
pays  well,  as  times  go  —  but  unquestionably  it  ought  to 
pay  ten  prices  ;  for  whatever  I  send  it  I  feel  I  am  con 
signing  to  the  tomb  of  the  Capulets.  The  verses  ac 
companying  this,  may  I  beg  you  to  take  out  of  the  tomb, 
and  bring  them  to  light  in  the  Home  Journal  ?  If  you 
can  oblige  me  so  far  as  to  copy  them,  I  do  not  think 

it  will  be  necessary  to   say    "From  the  ,"  — that 

would  be  too  bad  5 — and,  perhaps,  "From  a  late  

paper"  w^uld  do. 

I  have  not  forgotten  how  a  "good  word  in  season" 
from  you  made  "The  Raven,"  and  made  "  Ulalume," 
(which,  by-the-way,  people  have  done  me  the  honor  of 
attributing  to  you) — therefore  I  'would  ask  you,  (if  I 
dared),  to  say  something  of  these  lines  —  if  they  please 

Truly  yours  ever, 


In  double  proof  of  his  earnest  disposition  to  do  the 
best  for  himself,  and  of  the  trustful  and  grateful  nature 
which  has  been  denied  him,  we  give  another  of  the 
only  three  of  his  notes  which  we  chance  to  retain  :  — 

FORDHAM,  January  22,  1848. 

MY  DEAR  MR.  WILLIS,  —  I  am  about  to  make  an 
effort  at  re-establishing  myself  in  the  literary  world,  and 
feel  that  I  may  depend  upon  your  aid. 

My  general  aim  is  to  start  a  Magazine,  to  be  called 
"  The  Stylus ;  "  but  it  would  be  useless  to  me,  even  when 
established,  if  not  entirely  out  of  the  control  of  a  pub 
lisher.  I  mean,  therefore,  to  get  up  a  Journal  which 
shall  be  my  own,  at  all  points.  With  this  end  in  view, 
I  must  get  a  list  of,  at  least,  five  hundred  subscribers  to 
begin  with  :  —  nearly  two  hundred  I  have  already.  I 
propose,  however,  to  go  South  and  West,  among  my 
personal  and  literary  friends  —  old  college  and  West 


Point  acquaintances  —  and  see  what  I  can  do.  In  order 
to  get  the  means  of  taking  the  first  step,  I  propose  to 
lecture  at  the  Society  Library,  on  Thursday,  the  3d  of 
February  —  and,  that  there  may  be  no  cause  of  squab 
bling,  my  subject  shall  not  be  literary  at  all.  I  have 
chosen  a  broad  text  —  "The  Universe." 

Having  thus  given  you  the  facts  of  the  case,  I  leave 
all  the  rest  to  the  suggestions  of  your  own  tact  and 

Gratefully — most  gratefully  — 

Your  friend  always, 


Brief  and  chance-taken  as  these  letters  are,  we  think 
they  sufficiently  prove  the  existence  of  the  very  quali 
ties  denied  to  Mr.  Poe,  —  humility,  willingness  to 
persevere,  belief  in  another's  kindness,  and  capability 
of  cordial  and  grateful  friendship  !  Such  he  assuredly 
was  when  sane.  Such  only  he  has  invariably  seemed 
to  us,  in  all  we  have  happened  personally  to  know  of 
him,  through  a  friendship  of  five  or  six  years.  And 
so  much  easier  is  it  to  believe  what  we  have  seen  and 
known  than  what  we  bear  of  only,  that  we  remember 
him  but  with  admiration  and  respect,  —  these  descrip 
tions  of  him,  when  morally  insane,  seeming  to  us  like 
portraits,  painted  in  sickness,  of  a  man  we  have  only 
known  in  health. 

But  there  is  another,  more  touching  and  far  more 
forcible,  evidence  that  there  was  goodness  in  Edgar  A. 
Poe.  To  reveal  it,  we  are  obliged  to  venture  upon 
the  lifting  of  the  veil  which  sacredly  covers  grief  and 
refinement  in  poverty  ;  but  we  think  it  may  be  ex 
cused  if  so  we  can  brighten  the  memory  of  the  poet, 
even  were  there  not  a  more  needed  and  immediate 
service  which  it  may  render  to  the  nearest  link  broken 
by  his  death. 

DEATH   OF   EDGAR   A.   POE.  365 

Our  first  knowledge  of  Mr.  Poe's  removal  to  this 
city  was  by  a  call  which  we  received  from  a  lady  who 
introduced  herself  to  us  as  the  mother  of  his  wife.  She 
was  in  search  of  employment  for  him,  and  she  excused 
her  errand  by  mentioning  that  he  was  ill,  that  her 
daughter  was  a  confirmed  invalid,  and  that  their  cir 
cumstances  were  such  as  compelled  her  taking  it  upon 
herself.  The  countenance  of  this  lady,  made  beautiful 
and  saintly  with  an  evidently  complete  giving  up  of 
her  life  to  privation  and  sorrowful  tenderness,  her 
gentle  and  mournful  voice  urging  its  plea,  her  long- 
forgotten  but  habitually  and  unconsciously  refined 
manners,  and  her  appealing  and  yet  appreciative  men 
tion  of  the  claims  and  abilities  of  her  son,  disclosed  at 
once  the  presence  of  one  of  those  angels  upon  earth 
that  women  in  adversity  can  be.  It  was  a  hard  fate 
that  she  was  watching  over.  Mr.  Poe  wrote  with 
fastidious  difficulty,  and  in  a  style  too  much  above  the 
popular  level  to  be  well  paid.  He  was  always  in 
pecuniary  difficulty,  and,  with  his  sick  wife,  frequently 
in  want  of  the  merest  necessaries  of  life.  Winter  after 
winter,  for  years,  the  most  touching  sight  to  us,  in  this 
whole  city,  has  been  that  tireless  minister  to  genius, 
thinly  and  insufficiently  clad,  going  from  office  to  office 
with  a  poem,  or  an  article  on  some  literary  subject,  to 
sell  —  sometimes  simply  pleading  in  a  broken  voice 
that  he  was  ill,  and  begging  for  him — mentioning 
nothing  but  that  "  he  was  ill,"  whatever  might  be  the 
reason  for  his  writing  nothing  ;  and  never,  amid  all 
her  tears  and  recitals  of  distress,  suffering  one  syllable 
to  escape  her  lips  that  could  convey  a  doubt  of  him, 
or  a  complaint,  or  a  lessening  of  pride  in  his  genius 
and  good  intentions.  Her  daughter  died,  a  year  and  a 
half  since,  but  she  did  not  desert  him.  She  continued 


his  ministering  angel,  —  living  with  him,  caring  for 
him,  guarding  him  against  exposure,  and,  when  he 
was  carried  away  by  temptation,  amid  grief  and  the 
loneliness  of  feelings  unreplied  to,  and  awoke  from  his 
self-abandonment  prostrated  in  destitution  and  suffer 
ing,  begging  for  him  still.  If  woman's  devotion,  born 
with  a  first  love,  and  fed  with  human  passion,  hallow 
its  object,  as  it  is  allowed  to  do,  what  does  not  a  de 
votion  like  this  —  pure,  disinterested,  and  holy  as  the 
watch  of  an  invisible  spirit  —  say  for  him  who  in 
spired  it  ? 

We  have  a  letter  before  us,  written  by  this  lady, 
Mrs.  Clemm,  on  the  morning  in  which  she  heard  of 
the  death  of  this  object  of  her  untiring  care.  It  is 
merely  a  request  that  we  would  call  upon  her  ;  but 
we  will  copy  a  few  of  its  words,  sacred  as  its  privacy 
is,  to  warrant  the  truth  of  the  picture  we  have  drawn 
above,  and  add  force  to  the  appeal  we  wish  to  make 
for  her  :  — 

"I  have  this  morning  heard  of  the  death  of  my  darling 
Eddie.  .  .  .  Can  you  give  me  any  circumstances  or  par 
ticulars  ?  .  .  .  Oh  !  do  not  desert  your  poor  friend  in 

this  bitter  affliction.    .    .    .   Ask  Mr.  to  come,  as 

I  must  deliver  a  message  to  him  from  my  poor  Eddie. 
...  I  need  not  ask  you  to  notice  his  death  and  to  speak 
well  of  him.  I  know  you  will.  But  say  what  an  affec 
tionate  son  he  was  to  me,  his  poor  desolate  mother.  ..." 

To  hedge  round  a  grave  with  respect,  what  choice 
is  there  between  the  relinquished  wealth  and  honors 
of  the  world  and  the  story  of  such  a  woman's  unre 
warded  devotion  !  Risking  what  we  do,  in  delicacy, 
by  making  it  public,  we  feel  —  other  reasons  aside  — 
that  it  betters  the  world  to  make  known  that  there  are 
such  ministrations  to  its  erring  and  gifted.  What  we 

EDGAR   ALLAN    POE.  367 

have  said  will  speak  to  some  hearts.  There  are  those 
who  will  be  glad  to  know  how  the  lamp,  whose  light 
of  poetry  has  beamed  on  their  far-away  recognition, 
was  watched  over  with  care  and  pain,  that  they  may 
send  to  her,  who  is  more  darkened  than  they  by  its 
extinction,  some  token  of  their  sympathy.  She  is 
destitute  and  alone.  If  any,  far  or  near,  will  send  to 
us  what  may  aid  and  cheer  her  through  the  remainder 
of  her  life,  we  will  joyfully  place  it  in  her  hands. 


The  situation  of  American  literature  is  anomalous. 
It  has  no  centre,  or,  if  it  have,  it  is  like  that  of  the 
sphere  of  Hermes.  It  is  divided  into  many  systems, 
each  revolving  round  its  several  sun,  and  often  present 
ing  to  the  rest  only  the  faint  glimmer  of  a  milk-and- 
watery  way.  Our  capital  city,  unlike  London  or 
Paris,  is  not  a  great  central  heart,  from  which  life  and 
vigor  radiate  to  the  extremities,  but  resembles  more  an 
isolated  umbilicus,  stuck  down  as  near  as  may  be  to 
the  centre  of  the  land,  and  seeming  rather  to  tell  a 
legend  of  former  usefulness  than  to  serve  any  present 
need.  Boston,  New  York,  Philadelphia,  each  has  its 
literature  almost  more  distinct  than  those  of  the  differ 
ent  dialects  of  Germany  ;  and  the  Young  Queen  of  the 
West  has  also  one  of  her  own,  of  which  some  articu 
late  rumor  barely  has  reached  us  dwellers  by  the 

1  From  "  Graham's  Magazine,"  Phila.,  February,  1845,  with 
a  super-caption  :  —  "  Our  Contributors.  —  No.  XVII." 


Atlantic.  Meanwhile,  a  great  babble  is  kept  up  con 
cerning  a  national  literature,  and  the  country,  having 
delivered  itself  of  the  ugly  likeness  of  a  paint-bedaubed, 
filthy  savage,  smilingly  dandles  the  rag-baby  upon  her 
maternal  knee,  as  if  it  were  veritable  flesh  and  blood, 
and  would  grow  timely  to  bone  and  sinew. 

But,  before  we  have  an  American  literature,  we 
must  have  an  American  criticism.  We  have,  it  is 
true,  some  scores  of  "  American  Macaulays,"  the 
faint  echoes  of  defunct  originalities,  who  will  dis 
course  learnedly  at  an  hour's  notice  upon  matters,  to 
be  even  a  sciolist  in  which  would  ask  the  patient 
study  and  self-denial  of  years  —  but,  with  a  few  rare 
exceptions,  America  is  still  to  seek  a  profound,  orig 
inal,  and  aesthetic  criticism.  Our  criticism,  which 
from  its  nature  might  be  expected  to  pass  most  erudite 
judgment  upon  the  merit  of  thistles,  undertakes  to  de 
cide  upon 

"  The  plant  and  flower  of  light." 

There  is  little  life  in  it,  little  conscientiousness,  little 
reverence  ;  nay,  it  has  seldom  the  mere  physical  merit 
of  fearlessness.  It  may  be  best  likened  to  an  intellec 
tual  gathering  of  chips  to  keep  the  critical  pot  of  pota 
toes  or  reputations  boiling.  Too  often,  indeed,  with 
the  cast  garments  of  some  pigmy  GifFord,  or  other  for 
eign  notoriety,  which  he  has  picked  up  at  the  rag-fair 
of  literature,  our  critic  sallies  forth,  a  self-dubbed 
Amadis,  armed  with  a  pen,  which,  more  wonderful 
even  than  the  fairy-gifts  in  an  old  ballad,  becomes  at 
will  either  the  lance  couched  terribly  at  defiant  wind 
mills,  or  the  trumpet  for  a  half-penny  paean. 

Perhaps  there  is  no  task  more  difficult  than  the  just 
criticism  of  cotemporary  literature.  It  is  even  more 
grateful  to  give  praise  where  it  is  needed  than  where 

EDGAR   ALLAN    POE.  369 

it  is  deserved,  and  friendship  so  often  reduces  the  iron 
stylus  of  justice  into  a  vague  flourish,  that  she  writes 
what  seems  rather  like  an  epitaph  than  a  criticism. 
Yet  if  praise  be  given  as  an  alms,  we  could  not  drop 
so  poisonous  a  one  into  any  man's  hat.  The  critic's 
ink  may  suffer  equally  from  too  large  an  infusion  of 
nutgalls  or  of  sugar.  But  it  is  easier  to  be  generous 
than  to  be  just,  though  there  are  some  who  find  it 
equally  hard  to  be  either,  and  we  might  readily  put 
faith  in  that  fabulous  direction  to  the  hiding-place  of 
truth,  did  we  judge  from  the  amount  of  water  which 
we  usually  find  mixed  with  it. 

We  were  very  naturally  led  into  some  remarks  on 
American  criticism  by  the  subject  of  the  present  sketch. 
Mr.  Poe  is  at  once  the  most  discriminating,  philo 
sophical,  and  fearless  critic  upon  imaginative  works 
who  has  written  in  America.  It  may  be  that  we 
should  qualify  our  remark  a  little  and  say  that  he 
MIGHT  BE,  rather  than  that  he  always  is,  for  he  seems 
sometimes  to  mistake  his  phial  of  prussic-acid  for  his 
inkstand.  If  we  do  not  always  agree  with  him  in  his 
premises,  we  are,  at  least,  satisfied  that  his  deductions 
are  logical,  and  that  we  are  reading  the  thoughts  of  a 
man  who  thinks  for  himself,  and  says  what  he  thinks, 
and  knows  well  what  he  is  talking  about.  His  ana 
lytic  powers  would  furnish  forth  bravely  some  score  of 
ordinary  critics.  We  do  not  know  him  personally, 
but  we  suspect  him  for  a  man  who  has  one  or  two  pet 
prejudices  on  which  he  prides  himself.  These  some 
times  allure  him  out  of  the  strict  path  of  criticism,1 

1  We  cannot  but  think  that  this  was  the  case  in  his  review  of 
W.  E.  Channing's  poems,  in  which  we  are  sure  that  there  is  much 
which  must  otherwise  have  challenged  Mr.  Poe's  hearty  liking.  — 
VOL.  I.  —  24 


but,  where  they  do  not  interfere,  we  would  put 
almost  entire  confidence  in  his  judgments.  Had  Mr. 
Poe  had  the  control  of  a  magazine  of  his  own,  in 
which  to  display  his  critical  abilities,  he  would  have 
been  as  autocratic,  ere  this,  in  America,  as  Professor 
Wilson  has  been  in  England ;  and  his  criticisms,  we 
are  sure,  would  have  been  far  more  profound  and  phil 
osophical  than  those  of  the  Scotsman.  As  it  is,  he 
has  squared  out  blocks  enough  to  build  an  enduring 
pyramid,  but  has  left  them  lying  carelessly  and  un 
claimed  in  many  different  quarries. 

Remarkable  experiences  are  usually  confined  to  the 
inner  life  of  imaginative  men,  but  Mr.  Poe' s  biography 
displays  a  vicissitude  and  peculiarity  of  interest  such  as 
is  rarely  met  with.  The  offspring  of  a  romantic  mar 
riage,  and  left  an  orphan  at  an  early  age,  he  was 
adopted  by  Mr.  Allan,  a  wealthy  Virginian,  whose 
barren  marriage-bed  seemed  the  warranty  of  a  large 
estate  to  the  young  poet.  Having  received  a  classical 
education  in  England,  he  returned  home  and  entered 
the  University  of  Virginia,  where,  after  an  extrava 
gant  course,  followed  by  reformation  at  the  last  ex 
tremity,  he  was  graduated  with  the  highest  honors  of 
his  class.  Thencame  a  boyish  attempt  tq_jojn  the_ 
fortunes  of  the  insurgent  Greeks,  which  ended  at  St. 
'Peters burET where  he  got  into  difficulties  through  want 
oTa  passport,  From  which  he  was  rescued  by  the  AmerJ 
ican  consul  and  sent  home.  He  now  entered  the 
military  academy  at  West  Point,  from  which  he  ob 
tained  a  dismissal  on  hearing  of  the  birth  of  a  son  to 
his  adopted  father,  by  a  second  marriage,  an  event 
which  cut  off  his  expectations  as  an  heir.  The  death 
of  Mr.  Allan,  in  whose  will  his  name  was  not  men 
tioned,  soon  after  relieved  him  of  all  doubt  in  this  re- 

EDGAR   ALLAN    POE.  371 

gard,  and  he  committed  himself  at  once  to  authorship 
for  a  support.  Previously  to  this,  however,  he  had 
published  (in  1827)  a  small  volume  of  poems,  which 
soon  ran  through  three  editions,  and  excited  high  ex 
pectations  of  its  author's  future  distinction  in  the 
minds  of  many  competent  judges. 

That  no  certain  augury  can  be  drawn  from  a  poet's 
earliest  lispings  there  are  instances  enough  to  prove. 
Shakspeare's  first  poems,  though  brimful  of  vigor  and 
youth  and  picturesqueness,  give  but  a  very  faint  prom 
ise  of  the  directness,  condensation  and  overflowing 
moral  of  his  maturer  works.  Perhaps,  however, 
Shakspeare  is  hardly  a  case  in  point,  his  "Venus  and 
Adonis"  having  been  published,  we  believe,  in  his 
twenty-sixth  year.  Milton's  Latin  verses  show  ten 
derness,  a  fine  eye  for  nature,  and  a  delicate  apprecia 
tion  of  classic  models,  but  give  no  hint  of  the  author 
of  anew  style  in  poetry.  Pope's  youthful  pieces  have 
all  the  sing-song,  wholly  unrelieved  by  the  glittering 
malignity  and  eloquent  irreligion  of  his  later  produc 
tions.  Collins'  callow  namby-pamby  died  and  gave 
no  sign  of  the  vigorous  and  original  genius  which  he 
afterward  displayed.  We  have  never  thought  that  the 
world  lost  more  in  the  "  marvelous  boy,"  Chatterton, 
than  a  very  ingenious  imitation  of  obscure  and  anti 
quated  dullness.  Where  he  becomes  original  (as  it  is 
called)  the  interest  of  ingenuity  ceases  and  he  becomes 
stupid.  Kirke  White's  promises  were  endorsed  by  the 
respectable  name  of  Mr.  Southey,  but  surely  with  no 
authority  from  Apollo.  They  have  the  merit  of  a 
traditional  piety,  which,  to  our  mind,  if  uttered  at  all, 
had  been  less  objectionable  in  the  retired  closet  of  a 
diary,  and  in  the  sober  raiment  of  prose.  They  do 
not  clutch  hold  of  the  memory  with  the  drowning  per- 


tinacity  of  Watts  ;  neither  have  they  the  interest  of 
his  occasional  simple,  lucky  beauty.  Burns,  having 
fortunately  been  rescued  by  his  humble  station  from 
the  contaminating  society  of  the  "best  models," 
wrote  well  and  naturally  from  the  first.  Had  he  been 
unfortunate  enough  to  have  had  an  educated  taste,  we 
should  have  had  a  series  of  poems  from  which,  as  from 
his  letters,  we  could  sift  here  and  there  a  kernel  from 
the  mass  of  chaff.  Coleridge's  youthful  efforts  give  no 
promise  whatever  of  that  poetical  genius  which  pro 
duced  at  once  the  wildest,  tenderest,  most  original 
and  most  purely  imaginative  poems  of  modern  times. 
Byron's  "  Hours  of  Idleness"  would  never  find  a 
reader  except  from  an  intrepid  and  indefatigable  curi 
osity.  In  Wordsworth's  first  preludings  there  is  but 
a  dim  foreboding  of  the  creation  of  an  era.  From 
Southey's  early  poems,  a  safer  augury  might  have  been 
drawn.  They  show  the  patient  investigation,  the 
close  student  of  history,  and  the  unwearied  explorer 
of  the  beauties  of  predecessors,  but  they  give  no  assur 
ances  of  a  man  who  should  add  aught  to  stock  of  house 
hold  words,  or  to  the  rarer  and  more  sacred  delights 
of  the  fire-side  or  the  arbor.  The  earliest  specimens 
of  Shelley's  poetic  mind  already,  also,  give  tokens  of 
that  ethereal  sublimation  in  which  the  spirit  seems  to 
soar  above  the  region  of  words,  but  leaves  its  body, 
the  verse,  to  be  entombed,  without  hope  of  resurrec 
tion,  in  a  mass  of  them.  Cowley  is  generally  in 
stanced  as  a  wonder  of  precocity.  But  his  early 
insipidities  show  only  a  capacity  for  rhyming  and  for 
the  metrical  arrangement  of  certain  conventional  com 
binations  of  words,  a  capacity  wholly  dependent  on  a 
delicate  physical  organization,  and  an  unhappy  mem 
ory.  An  early  poem  is  only  remarkable  when  it  dis- 

EDGAR   ALLAN    POE.  373 

plays  an  effort  of  reason,  and  the  rudest  verses  in 
which  we  can  trace  some  conception  of  the  ends  of 
poetry,  are  worth  all  the  miracles  of  smooth  juvenile 
versification.  A  school-boy,  one  would  say,  might 
acquire  the  regular  see-saw  of  Pope  merely  by  an  asso 
ciation  with  the  motion  of  the  play-ground  tilt. 

Mr.  Poe's  early  productions  show  that  he  could  see 
through  the  verse  to  the  spirit  beneath,  and  that  he  al 
ready  had  a  feeling  that  all  the  life  and  grace  of  the 
one  must  depend  on  and  be  modulated  by  the  will  of 
the  other.  We  call  them  the  most  remarkable  boyish 
poems  that  we  have  ever  read.  We  know  of  none 
that  can  compare  with  them  for  maturity  of  purpose, 
and  a  nice  understanding  of  the  effects  of  language  and 
metre.  Such  pieces  are  only  valuable  when  they  dis 
play  what  we  can  only  express  by  the  contradictory 
phrase  of  innate  experience.  We  copy  one  of  the 
shorter  poems  written  when  the  author  was  only 
fourteen  !  There  is  a  little  dimness  in  the  filling  up, 
but  the  grace  and  symmetry  of  the  outline  are  such  as 
few  poets  ever  attain.  There  is  a  smack  of  ambrosia 
about  it. 


Helen,  thy  beauty  is  to  me 

Like  those  Nicean  barks  of  yore, 
That  gently,  o'er  a  perfumed  sea, 

The  weary,  way-worn  wanderer  bore 

To  his  own  native  shore. 

On  desperate  seas  long  wont  to  roam, 
Thy  hyacinth  hair,  thy  classic  face, 

Thy  Naiad  airs  have  brought  me  home 
To  the  glory  that  was  Greece 

And  the  grandeur  that  was  Rome. 


Lo  !   in  yon  brilliant  window-niche 

How  statue-like  I  see  thee  stand  ! 

The  agate  lamp  within  thy  hand, 
Ah  !  Psyche,  from  the  regions  which 

Are  Holy  Land  ! 

It  is  the  tendency  of  the  young  poet  that  impresses 
us.  Here  is  no  "withering  scorn,"  no  heart 
"blighted"  ere  it  has  safely  got  into  its  teens,  none 
of  the  drawing-room  sansculottism  which  Byron  had 
brought  into  vogue.  All  is  limpid  and  serene,  with  a 
pleasant  dash  of  the  Greek  Helicon  in  it.  The  melody 
of  the  whole,  too,  is  remarkable.  It  is  not  of  that 
kind  which  can  be  demonstrated  arithmetically  upon  the 
tips  of  the  fingers.  It  is  that  finer  sort  which  the  inner 
ear  alone  can  estimate.  It  seems  simple,  like  a  Greek 
column,  because  of  its  perfection.  In  a  poem  named 
"  Ligeia,"  under  which  title  he  intended  to  personify 
the  music  of  nature,  our  boy  poet  gives  us  the  follow 
ing  exquisite  picture  : 

Ligeia !   Ligeia  ! 

My  beautiful  one, 
Whose  harshest  idea 

Will  to  melody  run, 
Say,  is  it  thy  'will 

On  the  breezes  to  toss, 
Or,  capriciously  still, 

Like  the  lone  Albatross, 
Incumbent  on  night, 

As  she  on  the  air, 
To  keep  watch  'with  delight 

On  the  harmony  there  ? 

John  Neal,  himself  a  man  of  genius,  and  whose 
lyre  has  been  too  long  capriciously  silent,  appreciated 
the  high  merit  of  these  and  similar  passages,  and  drew 
a  proud  horoscope  for  their  author.  The  extracts 

EDGAR   ALLAN    POE.  375 

which  we  shall  presently  make  from  Mr.  Poe's  later 
poems  fully  justify  his  predictions. 

Mr.  Poe  has  that  indescribable  something  which 
men  have  agreed  to  call  genius.  No  man  could  ever 
tell  us  precisely  what  it  is,  and  yet  there  is  none  who 
is  not  inevitably  aware  of  its  presence  and  its  power. 
Let  talent  writhe  and  contort  itself  as  it  may,  it  has  no 
such  magnetism.  Larger  of  bone  and  sinew  it  may  be, 
but  the  wings  are  wanting.  Talent  sticks  fast  to  earth, 
and  its  most  perfect  works  have  still  one  foot  of  clay. 
Genius  claims  kindred  with  the  very  workings  of  Nature 
herself,  so  that  a  sunset  shall  seem  like  a  quotation 
from  Dante  or  Milton,  and  if  Shakspeare  be  read  in 
the  very  presence  of  the  sea  itself,  his  verses  shall  but 
seem  nobler  for  the  sublime  criticism  of  ocean.  Talent 
may  make  friends  for  itself,  but  only  genius  can  give 
to  its  creations  the  divine  power  of  winning  love  and 
veneration.  Enthusiasm  cannot  cling  to  what  itself  is 
unenthusiastic,  nor  will  he  ever  have  disciples  who  has 
not  himself  impulsive  zeal  enough  to  be  a  disciple. 
Great  wits  are  allied  to  madness  only  inasmuch  as 
they  are  possessed  and  carried  away  by  their  demon, 
while  talent  keeps  him,  as  Paracelsus  did,  securely 
prisoned  in  the  pommel  of  its  sword.  To  the  eye  of 
genius,  the  veil  of  the  spiritual  world  is  ever  rent  asun 
der,  that  it  may  perceive  the  ministers  of  good  and 
evil  who  throng  continually  around  it.  No  man  of  mere 
talent  ever  flung  his  inkstand  at  the  devil. 

When  we  say  that  Mr.  Poe  has  genius,  we  do  not 
mean  to  say  that  he  has  produced  evidence  of  the 
highest.  But  to  say  that  he  possesses  it  at  all  is  to  say 
that  he  needs  only  zeal,  industry,  and  a  reverence  for 
the  trust  reposed  in  him,  to  achieve  the  proudest 
triumphs  and  the  greenest  laurels.  If  we  may  believe 


the  Longinuses  and  Aristotles  of  our  newspapers,  we 
have  quite  too  many  geniuses  of  the  loftiest  order  to 
render  a  place  among  them  at  all  desirable,  whether 
for  its  hardness  of  attainment  or  its  seclusion.  The 
highest  peak  of  our  Parnassus  is,  according  to  these 
gentlemen,  by  far  the  most  thickly  settled  portion  of 
the  country,  a  circumstance  which  must  make  it  an 
uncomfortable  residence  for  individuals  of  a  poetical 
temperament,  if  love  of  solitude  be,  as  immemorial 
tradition  asserts,  a  necessary  part  of  their  idiosyncrasy. 
There  is  scarce  a  gentleman  or  lady  of  respectable 
moral  character  to  whom  these  liberal  dispensers  of  the 
laurel  have  not  given  a  ticket  to  that  once  sacred  pri 
vacy,  where  they  may  elbow  Shakspeare  and  Milton  at 
leisure.  A  transient  visiter,  such  as  a  critic  must  neces 
sarily  be,  sees  these  legitimate  proprietors  in  common, 
parading  their  sacred  enclosure  as  thick  and  buzzing  as 
flies,  each  with  "  Entered  according  to  act  of  Con 
gress  "  labeled  securely  to  his  back.  Formerly  one 
Phoebus,  a  foreigner,  we  believe,  had  the  monopoly 
of  transporting  all  passengers  thither,  a  service  for 
which  he  provided  no  other  conveyance  than  a  vicious 
horse,  named  Pegasus,  who  could,  of  course,  carry 
but  one  at  a  time,  and  even  that  but  seldom,  his  back 
being  a  ticklish  seat,  and  one  fall  proving  generally 
enough  to  damp  the  ardor  of  the  most  zealous  aspirant. 
The  charges,  however,  were  moderate,  as  the  poet's 
pocket  formerly  occupied  that  position  in  regard  to  the 
rest  of  his  outfit  which  is  now  more  usually  conceded 
to  his  head.  But  we  must  return  from  our  little  his 
torical  digression. 

Mr.  Poe  has  two  of  the  prime  qualities  of  genius,  a 
faculty  of  vigorous  yet  minute  analysis,  and  a  wonder 
ful  fecundity  of  imagination.  The  first  of  these  facul- 

EDGAR   ALLAN    POE.  377 

ties  is  as  needful  to  the  artist  in  words,  as  a  knowledge 
of  anatomy  is  to  the  artist  in  colors  or  in  stone.  This 
enables  him  to  conceive  truly,  to  maintain  a  proper 
relation  of  parts,  and  to  draw  a  correct  outline,  while 
the  second  groups,  fills  up,  and  colors.  Both  of  these 
Mr.  Poe  has  displayed  with  singular  distinctness  in  his 
prose  works,  the  last  predominating  in  his  earlier  tales, 
and  the  first  in  his  later  ones.  In  judging  of  the  merit 
of  an  author  and  assigning  him  his  niche  among  our 
household  gods,  we  have  a  right  to  regard  him  from 
our  own  point  of  view,  and  to  measure  him  by  our 
own  standard.  But,  in  estimating  his  works,  we  must 
be  governed  by  his  own  design,  and,  placing  them  by 
the  side  of  his  own  ideal,  find  how  much  is  wanting. 
We  differ  with  Mr.  Poe  in  his  opinions  of  the  objects 
of  art.  He  esteems  that  object  to  be  the  creation  of 
Beauty,1  and  perhaps  it  is  only  in  the  definition  of  that 
word  that  we  disagree  with  him.  But  in  what  we 
shall  say  of  his  writings  we  shall  take  his  own  standard 
as  our  guide.  The  temple  of  the  god  of  song  is  equally 
accessible  from  every  side,  and  there  is  room  enough 
in  it  for  all  who  bring  offerings,  or  seek  an  oracle. 

In  his  tales,  Mr.  Poe  has  chosen  to  exhibit  his 
power  chiefly  in  that  dim  region  which  stretches  from 
the  very  utmost  limits  of  the  probable  into  the  weird 
confines  of  superstition  and  unreality.  He  combines 
in  a  very  remarkable  manner  two  faculties  which  are 
seldom  found  united  ;  a  power  of  influencing  the  mind 
of  the  reader  by  the  impalpable  shadows  of  mystery, 
and  a  minuteness  of  detail  which  does  not  leave  a  pin 
or  a  button  unnoticed.  Both  are,  in  truth,  the  natural 
results  of  the  predominating  quality  of  his  mind,  to 

1  Mr.  P.'s  proposition  is  here  perhaps  somewhat  too  generally 
stated.  — ED.  Mag. 


which  we  have  before  alluded,  analysis.  It  is  this 
which  distinguishes  the  artist.  His  mind  at  once 
reaches  forward  to  the  effect  to  be  produced.  Having 
resolved  to  bring  about  certain  emotions  in  the  reader, 
he  makes  all  subordinate  parts  tend  strictly  to  the  com 
mon  centre.  Even  his  mystery  is  mathemathical  to 
his  own  mind.  To  him  AT  is  a  known  quantity  all 
along.  In  any  picture  that  he  paints,  he  understands 
the  chemical  properties  of  all  his  colors.  However 
vague  some  of  his  figures  may  seem,  however  formless 
the  shadows,  to  him  the  outline  is  as  clear  and  distinct 
as  that  of  a  geometrical  diagram.  For  this  reason  Mr. 
Poe  has  no  sympathy  with  Mysticism.  The  mystic 
dwells  in  the  mystery,  is  enveloped  with  it  ;  it  colors 
all  his  thoughts ;  it  affects  his  optic  nerve  especially, 
and  the  commonest  things  get  a  rainbow  edging  from 
it.  Mr.  Poe,  on  the  other  hand,  is  a  spectator  ab 
extra.  He  analyzes,  he  dissects,  he  watches 

—  with  an  eye  serene, 
The  very  pulse  of  the  machine, 

for  such  it  practically  is  to  him,  with  wheels  and  cogs 
and  piston-rods  all  working  to  produce  a  certain  end. 
It  is  this  that  makes  him  so  good  a  critic.  Nothing 
baulks  him,  or  throws  him  off  the  scent,  except  now 
and  then  a  prejudice. 

This  analyzing  tendency  of  his  mind  balances  the 
poetical,  and,  by  giving  him  the  patience  to  be  mi 
nute,  enables  him  to  throw  a  wonderful  reality  into 
his  most  unreal  fancies.  A  monomania  he  paints  with 
great  power.  He  loves  to  dissect  these  cancers  of  the 
mind,  and  to  trace  all  the  subtle  ramifications  of  its 
roots.  In  raising  images  of  horror,  also,  he  has  a 
strange  success ;  conveying  to  us  sometimes  by  a 

EDGAR   ALLAN    POE.  379 

dusky  hint  some  terrible  doubt  which  is  the  secret 
of  all  horror.  Me  leaves  to  imagination  the  task 
of  finishing  the  picture,  a  task  to  which  only  she  is 

"  For  much  imaginary  work  was  there; 
Conceit  deceitful,  so  compact,  so  kind, 
That  for  Achilles'  image  stood  his  spear 
Grasped  in  an  armed  hand ;   himself  behind 
Was  left  unseen,  save  to  the  eye  of  mind." 

We  have  hitherto  spoken  chiefly  of  Mr.  Poe's  col 
lected  tales,  as  by  them  he  is  more  widely  known 
than  by  those  published  since  in  various  magazines, 
and  which  we  hope  soon  to  see  collected.  In  these 
he  has  more  strikingly  displayed  his  analytic  pro 

Beside  the  merit  of  conception,  Mr.  Poe's  writings 
have  also  that  of"  form.  His  style  is  highly  finished, 
graceful,  and  truly  classical.  It  would  be  hard  to  find 
a  living  author  who  had  displayed  such  varied  powers. 
As  an  example  of  his  style,  we  would  refer  to  one  of 
his  tales,  "The  House  of  Usher,"  in  the  first  volume 
of  his  "Tales  of  the  Grotesque  and  Arabesque."  It 
has  a  singular  charm  for  us,  and  we  think  that  no  one 
could  read  it  without  being  strongly  moved  by  its 
serene  and  sombre  beauty.  Had  its  author  written 
nothing  else,  it  would  alone  have  been  enough  to 
stamp  him  as  a  man  of  genius,  and  the  master  of  a 
classic  style.  In  this  tale  occurs  one  of  the  most 
beautiful  of  his  poems.  It  loses  greatly  by  being 
taken  out  of  its  rich  and  appropriate  setting,  but  we 
cannot  deny  ourselves  the  pleasure  of  copying  it  here. 
We  know  no  modern  poet  who  might  not  have  been 
justly  proud  of  it. 



In  the  greenest  of  our  valleys, 

By  good  angels  tenanted, 
Once  a  fair  and  stately  palace  — 

Radiant  palace  —  rear'd  its  head. 
In  the  monarch  Thought's  dominion  — 

It  stood  there  ! 
Never  seraph  spread  a  pinion 

Over  fabric  half  so  fair  ! 

Banners  yellow,  glorious,  golden, 

On  its  roof  did  float  and  flow, 
(This  —  all  this  —  was  in  the  olden 

Time,  long  ago, ) 
And  every  gentle  air  that  dallied, 

In  that  sweet  day, 
Along  the  ramparts  plumed  and  pallid, 

A  winged  odor  went  away. 

Wanderers  in  that  happy  valley, 

Through  two  luminous  windows,  saw 
Spirits  moving  musically, 

To  a  lute's  well-tuned  law, 
Round  about  a  throne  where,  sitting 

(  Porphyrogene  ?) 
In  state  his  glory  well  befitting, 

The  ruler  of  the  realm  was  seen. 

And  all  "with  pearl  and  ruby  glowing 

Was  the  fair  palace  door. 
Through  'which  came  flowing,  flowing, 

And  sparkling  evermore, 
A  troop  of  Echoes,  'whose  sweet  duty 

Was  but  to  sing, 
In  'voices  of  surpassing  beauty, 

The  *wit  and  'wisdom  of  their  king. 

But  evil  things,  in  robes  of  sorrow, 
Assail'd  the  monarch's  high  estate. 

( Ah,  let  us  mourn  !  —  for  never  morrow 
Shall  dawn  upon  him  desolate  !) 

EDGAR  ALLAN    POE.  381 

And  round  about  his  home  the  glory 

That  blush'd  and  bloom'd, 
Is  but  a  dim  remember'd  story 

Of  the  old  time  entomb'd. 

And  travelers,  now,  'within  that  valley^ 

Through  the  red-litten  ivindoivs  see 
f^ast  forms,  that  move  fantastically 

To  a  discordant  melody, 
While,  like  a  ghastly  rapid  river , 

Through  the  pale  door, 
A  hideous  throng  rush  out  forever , 

And  laugh  —  but  smile  no  more. 

Was  ever  the  wreck  and  desolation  of  a  noble  mind 
so  musically  sung  ? 

A  writer  in  the  "  London  Foreign  Quarterly  Re 
view,"  who  did  some  faint  justice  to  Mr.  Foe's  poet 
ical  abilities,  speaks  of  his  resemblance  to  Tennyson. 
The  resemblance,  if  there  be  any,  is  only  in  so  sen 
sitive  an  ear  to  melody  as  leads  him  sometimes  into 
quaintness,  and  the  germ  of  which  may  be  traced  in 
his  earliest  poems,  published  several  years  before  the 
first  of  Tennyson's  appeared. 

We  copy  one  more  of  Mr.  Foe's  poems,  whose 
effect  cannot  fail  of  being  universally  appreciated. 


Ah,  broken  is  the  golden  bowl  !  —  the  spirit  flown  forever  ! 
Let  the  bell  toll !  —  a  saintly  soul  floats  on  the  Stygian  river. 
And,   Guy  De  Vere,  hast  tbou  no  tear  ?  —  weep  now  or  never 
more  ! 

See,  on  yon  drear  and  rigid  bier,  low  lies  thy  love,  Lenore  ! 
Ah,  let  the  burial  rite  be  read  —  the  funeral  song  be  sung  — 
An  anthem  for  the  queenliest  dead  that  ever  died  so  young  — 
A  dirge  for  her  the  doubly  dead  in  that  she  died  so  young  ! 

"  Wretches  !    ye  loved  her  for  her  wealth  and  hated  her  for  her 

And,  when  she  fell  in  feeble  health,  ye  blessed  her —  that  she  died. 


How  shall  the  ritual  then  be  read  ?  —  the  requiem  how  be  sung 

By  you  —  by  yours  the  evil  eye  —  by  yours  the  slanderous  tongue, 

That  did  to  death  the  innocence  that  died  and  died  so  young  ?  " 

Peccavimus ;  but  rave  not  thus  !  and  let  a  Sabbath  song 

Go  up  to  God  so  solemnly  the  dead  may  feel  no  wrong. 

The  sweet   Lenore   hath    "gone   before,"   with   Hope   that   flew 

Leaving  thee  wild  for  the  dear  child  that  should  have  been  thy 

bride  — 

For  her  the  fair  and  debonair  that  now  so  lowly  lies, 
The  life  upon  her  yellow  hair  but  not  within  her  eyes  — 
The  life  still  there,  upon  her  hair  —  the  death  upon  her  eyes. 

"  Avaunt!  — to-night  my  heart  is  light ;   no  dirge  will  I  upraise, 
But  waft  the  angel  on  her  flight  with  a  paean  of  old  days  ! 
Let  no  bell  toll  !  — lest  her  sweet  soul,  amid  its  hallowed  mirth, 
Should  catch  the  note  as  it  doth  float  up  from  the  damned  earth. 
To  friends  above,  *rom  friends  below,  the  indignant  ghost  is  riven — 
From  Hell  into  a  high  estate  far  up  within  the  Heaven  — 
From   moan  and   groan   to   a   golden    throne  beside  the   King  of 
Heaven. ' ' 

How  exquisite,  too,  is  the  rhythm  ! 

Besides  his  < f  Tales  of  the  Grotesque  and  Ara 
besque,"  and  some  works  unacknowledged,  Mr.  Poe 
is  the  author  of  "Arthur  Gordon  Pym,"  a  romance, 
in  two  volumes,  which  has  run  through  many  editions 
in  London  ;  of  a  system  of  Conchology,  of  a  digest 
and  translation  of  Lemmonnier's  Natural  History, 
and  has  contributed  to  several  reviews  in  France,  in 
England,  and  in  this  country.  He  edited  the  "South 
ern  Literary  Messenger"  during  its  novitiate,  and  by 
his  own  contributions  gained  it  most  of  its  success  and 
reputation.  He  was  also,  for  some  time,  the  editor 
of  this  magazine,  and  our  readers  will  bear  testimony 
to  his  ability  in  that  capacity. 

Mr.  Poe  is  still  in  the  prime  of  life,  being  about 
thirty-two  years  of  age,  and  has  probably  as  yet  given 
but  an  earnest  of  his  powers.  As  a  critic,  he  has 

EDGAR  A.   POE.  383 

shown  so  superior  an  ability  that  we  cannot  but  hope 
that  he  will  collect  his  essays  of  this  kind  and  give 
them  a  more  durable  form.  They  would  be  a  very 
valuable  contribution  to  our  literature,  and  would  fully 
justify  all  we  have  said  in  his  praise.  We  could  refer 
to  many  others  of  his  poems  than  those  we  have  quoted, 
to  prove  that  he  is  the  possessor  of  a  pure  and  original 
vein.  His  tales  and  essays  have  equally  shown  him  a 
master  in  prose.  It  is  not  for  us  to  assign  him  his 
definite  rank  among  cotemporary  authors,  but  we  may 
be  allowed  to  say  that  we  know  of  none  who  has 
displayed  more  varied  and  striking  abilities. 

EDGAR   A.    POE. 


Author  of  the  "  Froissart  Ballads." 

[Southern  Literary  Messenger,  January,  1848.] 

(The  following  paper  is  a  sequel  to  Mr.  Lowell's 
Memoir,  (so-called,)  of  Mr.  Poe,  published  two  or  three 
years  since  in  Graham's  Magazine.  Mr.  P.  edited  the 
Messenger  for  several  years,  and  the  pages  of  that  maga 
zine  would  seem,  therefore,  a  proper  place  for  the  few 
hurried  observations  which  I  have  made  upon  his  writings 
and  genius.  P.  P.  C.) 

Since  the  memoirs  of  Mr.  Poe,  written  by  James 
Russell  Lowell,  appeared,  Mr.  P.  has  written  some  of 
his  best  things ;  amongst  them  The  Raven,  and  Dream 
land —  poems  —  and  M.  Valdemar's  Case  —  a  prose 


"  The  Raven "  is  a  singularly  beautiful  poem. 
Many  readers  who  prefer  sunshine  to  the  weird  lights 
with  which  Mr.  Poe  fills  his  sky,  may  be  dull  to  its 
beauty,  but  it  is  none  the  less  a  great  triumph  of  im 
agination  and  art.  Notwithstanding  the  extended 
publication  of  this  remarkable  poem,  I  will  quote  it 
almost  entire  —  as  the  last  means  of  justifying  the  praise 
I  have  bestowed  upon  it. 

The  opening  stanza  rapidly  and  clearly  arranges 
time,  place,  etc.,  for  the  mysteries  that  follow. 

"  Once    upon  a  midnight  dreary,    while   I   pondered,    weak   and 


Over  many  a  quaint  and  curious  volume  of  forgotten  lore, 
While  I  nodded,  nearly  napping,  suddenly  there  came  a  tapping 
As  of  some  one  gently  rapping,  rapping  at  my  chamber  door, 
*  'Tis  some  visiter,'   I  muttered,  tapping  at  my  chamber  door  — 
Only  this,  and  nothing  more. '  ' 

Observe  how  artistically  the  poet  has  arranged  the 
circumstances  of  this  opening  —  how  congruous  all  are. 
This  congruity  extends  to  the  phraseology  ;  every 
word  is  admirably  selected  and  placed  with  reference 
to  the  whole.  Even  the  word  "napping"  is  well 
chosen,  as  bestowing  a  touch  of  the  fantastic,  which  is 
subsequently  introduced  as  an  important  component  of 
the  poem.  Stanza  zd  increases  the  distinctness  and 
effect  of  the  picture  as  already  presented  to  us.  The 
"Midnight  Dreary"  is  a  midnight  "in  the  bleak 
December,"  and  the  "dying  embers"  are  assuming 
strange  and  fantastic  shapes  upon  the  student's  hearth. 
We  now  pass  these  externals  and  some  words  of  ex 
quisite  melody  let  us  into  the  secret  of  the  rooted  sor 
row  which  has  led  to  the  lonely  night-watching  and 
fruitless  study. 

EDGAR   A.    POE.  385 

tf  Vainly  I  had  sought  to  borrow 

From  my  books  surcease  of  sorrow  —  sorrow  for  the  lost  Lenore  — 
For  the  rare  and  radiant  maiden,  ivAom  the  angels  named  Lenore, 

Nameless  here  forever  more." 

A  death  was  never  more  poetically  told  than  in  the 
italicised  words  : 

The  "tapping"  is  renewed  — 

"  And  the  silken,  sad,  uncertain,  rustling  of  each  purple  curtain 
Thrilled  me,  filled  me,  with  fantastic  terrors  never  felt  before, 
So  that  now,  to  still  the  beating  of  my  heart,  I  stood  repeating 
'  'T  is  some  visiter  entreating  entrance  at  my  chamber  door, 
Some  late  visiter  entreating  entrance  at  my  chamber  door, 

Only  this  and  nothing  more.'  " 

After  some  stanzas,  quaint  and  highly  artistical,  the 
raven  is  found  at  the  window  ;  I  quote  now  continu 
ously  to  the  end. 

[Here  follows  "  The  Raven."] 

The  rhythm  of  this  poem  is  exquisite,  its  phrase 
ology  is  in  the  highest  degree  musical  and  apt,  the 
tone  of  the  whole  is  wonderfully  sustained  and  appro 
priate  to  the  subject,  which,  full  as  it  is  of  a  wild  and 
tender  melancholy,  is  admirably  well  chosen.  This  is 
my  honest  judgment  ;  I  am  fortified  in  it  by  high 
authority.  Mr.  Willis  says  :  —  "  It  is  the  most  effec 
tive  single  example  of  fugitive  poetry  ever  published  in 
this  country,  and  unsurpassed  in  English  poetry  for 
subtle  conception,  masterly  ingenuity  of  versification, 
and  consistent  sustaining  of  imaginative  lift.  It  is  one 
of  those  dainties  which  we  feed  on.  It  will  stick  to 
the  memory  of  every  one  who  reads  it." 

Miss  Barrett  says  :  —  "  This  vivid  writing  !  —  this 
power  which  is  felt !  *  The  Raven  '  has  produced  a 
sensation  —  a  'fit  horror'  here  in  England.  Some  of 
VOL.  i.—  25 


my  friends  are  taken  by  the  fear  of  it,  and  some  by 
the  music.  I  hear  of  persons  haunted  by  the  Never 
more,  and  one  acquaintance  of  mine,  who  has  the 
misfortune  of  possessing  a  bust  of  Pallas,  never  can 
bear  to  look  at  it  in  the  twilight.  Our  great  poet,  Mr. 
Browning,  author  of  Paracelsus,  etc.,  is  enthusiastic  in 
his  admiration  of  the  rhythm.  .  .  .  Then  there  is  a 
tale  of  his  which  I  do  not  find  in  this  volume,  but 
which  is  going  the  rounds  of  the  newspapers,  about 
mesmerism,  throwing  us  all  into  most  '  admired  dis 
order,'  or  dreadful  doubts  as  to  whether  it  can  be  true, 
as  the  children  say  of  ghost  stories.  The  certain 
thing  in  the  tale  in  question  is  the  power  of  the  writer, 
and  the  faculty  he  has  of  making  horrible  improbabili 
ties  seem  near  and  familiar." 

The  prose  narrative,  "  M.  Valdemar's  Case"  — 
the  story  of  which  Miss  Barrett  speaks —  is  the 
most  truth-like  representation  of  the  impossible  ever 
written.  M.  Valdemar  is  mesmerized  in  articulo 
mortis.  Months  pass  away,  during  which  he  appears 
to  be  in  mesmeric  sleep  ;  the  mesmeric  influence  is 
withdrawn,  and  instantly  his  body  becomes  putrid 
'and  loathsome  —  he  has  been  many  months  dead. 
Will  the  reader  believe  that  men  were  found  to  credit 
this  wild  story  ?  And  yet  some  very  respectable  peo 
ple  believed  in  its  truth  firmly.  The  editor  of  the 
Baltimore  Visiter  republished  it  as  a  statement  of  facts, 
and  was  at  the  pains  to  vouch  for  Mr.  Poe's  veracity. 
If  the  letter  of  a  Mr.  Collier,1  published  just  after  the 
original  appearance  of  the  story,  was  not  a  quiz,  he 
also  fell  into  the  same  trap.  I  understand  that  some 
foreign  mesmeric  journals,  German  and  French,  re 
printed  it  as  being  what  it  purported  to  be  —  a  true 

1  See  Vol.  II.  —ED. 

EDGAR   A.    POE.  387 

account  of  mesmeric  phenomena.  That  many  others 
were  deceived  in  like  manner  by  this  strange  tale,  in 
which,  as  Miss  Barrett  says,  "  the  wonder  and  ques 
tion  are,  can  it  be  true  ?  "  is  very  probable. 

With  Mr.  Foe's  more  recent  productions  I  am  not 
at  all  acquainted  —  excepting  a  review  of  Miss  Bar 
rett's  works,  and  an  essay  on  the  philosophy  of  com 
position.  The  first  of  these  contains  a  great  deal  of 
noble  writing  and  excellent  criticism  ;  the  last  is  an 
admirable  specimen  of  analysis.  I  believe  Mr.  P.  has 
been  for  some  time  ill  —  has  recently  sustained  a  heavy 
domestic  bereavement — and  is  only  now  returning  to 
his  literary  labors.  The  public  will  doubtless  welcome 
the  return  of  so  favorite  an  author  to  pursuits  in 
which  heretofore  he  has  done  so  much  and  so  well. 

Unnecessary  as  the  labor  may  be,  I  will  not  con 
clude  this  postscript  to  Mr.  Lowell's  memoir,  without 
making  some  remarks  upon  Mr.  Poe's  genius  and 
writings  generally. 

Mr.  P.'s  most  distinguishing  power  is  that  which 
made  the  extravagant  fiction  of  M.  Valdemar's  Case 
sound  like  truth.  He  has  De  Foe's  peculiar  talent  for 
filling  up  his  pictures  with  minute  life-like  touches  — 
for  giving  an  air  of  remarkable  naturalness  and  truth  to 
whatever  he  paints.  Some  of  his  stories,  written 
many  years  ago,  are  wonderful  in  this  fidelity  and  dis 
tinctness  of  portraiture  ;  "  Hans  Phaal,"  "  A  Descent 
into  the  Maelstrom,"  and  "  MS.  Found  in  a  Bottle," 
show  it  in  an  eminent  degree.  In  the  first  of  these  a 
journey  to  the  moon  is  described  with  the  fullness  and 
particularity  of  an  ordinary  traveller's  journal ;  entries, 
astronomical  and  thermical,  and,  on  reaching  the 
moon,  botanical,  and  zoological,  are  made  with  ^an 
inimitable  matter-of-fact  air.  In  A  Descent  into  the 


Maelstrom  you  are  made  fairly  to  feel  yourself  on  the 
descending  round  of  the  vortex,  convoying  fleets  of 
drift  timber,  and  fragments  of  wrecks  ;  the  terrible 
whirl  makes  you  giddy  as  you  read.  In  the  MS. 
Found  in  a  Bottle  we  have  a  story  as  wild  as  the  mind 
of  man  ever  conceived,  and  yet  made  to  sound  like  the 
most  matter-of-fact  veracious  narrative  of  a  seaman. 

But  in  Mr.  Poe,  the  peculiar  talent  to  which  we  are 
indebted  for  Robinson  Crusoe,  and  the  memoirs  of 
Captain  Monroe,  has  an  addition.  Truthlike  as  nature 
itself,  his  strange  fiction  shows  constantly  the  presence 
of  a  singularly  adventurous,  very  wild,  and  thoroughly 
poetic  imagination.  Some  sentences  from  them,  which 
always  impressed  me  deeply,  will  give  full  evidence  of 
the  success  with  which  this  rare  imaginative  power  is 
made  to  adorn  and  ennoble  his  truthlike  pictures. 
Take  this  passage  from  Ligeia,  a  wonderful  story, 
written  to  show  the  triumph  of  the  human  will  even 
over  death.  Ligeia,  in  whom  the  struggle  between 
the  will  to  live,  and  the  power  of  death,  has  seemed 
to  terminate  in  the  defeat  of  the  passionate  will,  is  con 
signed  to  the  tomb.  Her  husband  married  a  second 
wife,  "the  fair-haired  and  blue-eyed  Lady  Rowena." 
By  the  sick  bed  of  this  second  wife,  who  is  dying  from 
some  mysterious  cause,  he  sits. 

Again  take  this  passage  from  the  Fall  of  the  House 
of  Usher. 

These  quoted  passages —  the  "  white  and  ghastly 
spectrum  of  the  teeth  "  in  "  Berenice  "  — the  visible 
vulture  eye,  and  audible  heart-beat  in  the  ' f  Tell-tale 
Heart  "  —  the  resemblance  in  "  Morella  "  of  the  liv 
ing  child  to  the  dead  mother,  becoming  gradually  fear- 

EDGAR  A.   POE.  389 

ful,  until  the  haunting  eyes  gleam  out  a  terrible  iden 
tity,  and  prove  as  in  Ligeia  the  final  conquest  of  the 
will  over  death  —  these  and  a  thousand  such  clinging 
ideas,  which  Mr.  P.'s  writings  abound  in,  prove  in 
disputably  that  the  fires  of  a  great  poet  are  seething 
under  those  analytic  and  narrative  powers  in  which  no 
living  writer  equals  him. 

This  added  gift  of  a  daring  and  wild  imagination  is 
the  source  of  much  of  the  difference  between  our 
author  and  De  Foe.  De  Foe  loves  and  deals  always 
with  the  homely.  Mr.  Poe  is  nervously  afraid  of  the 
homely  —  has  a  creed  that  Beauty  is  the  goddess  of 
the  Poet  :  —  not  Beauty  with  swelling  bust,  and  las 
civious  carriage,  exciting  passions  of  the  blood,  but 
Beauty  sublimated  and  cherished  by  the  soul  —  the 
beauty  of  the  Uranian,  not  Dionean  Venus.  De  Foe 
gives  us  in  the  cheerful  and  delightful  story  of  his  colo 
nist  of  the  desert  isles,  (which  has  as  sure  a  locality  in 
a  million  minds  as  any  genuine  island  has  upon  the 
maps,)  a  clear,  plain,  true-sounding  narrative  of  mat 
ters  that  might  occur  any  day.  His  love  for  the  real 
makes  him  do  so.  The  (t  real  "  of  such  a  picture  has 
not  strangeness  enough  in  its  proportions  for  Mr. 
Poe's  imagination  ;  and,  with  the  same  talent  for  truth- 
like  narrative,  to  what  different  results  of  creation  does 
not  this  imagination,  scornful  of  the  soberly  real,  lead 
him  !  Led  by  it  he  loves  to  adventure  into  what  in 
one  of  his  poems  he  calls  — 

"  a  wild  weird  clime 
Out  of  space,  out  of  time  j  "  — 

deals  in  mysteries  of  "  life  in  death,"  dissects  mono 
manias,  exhibits  convulsions  of  soul  —  in  a  word, 
wholly  leaves  beneath  and  behind  him  the  wide  and 
happy  realm  of  the  common  cheerful  life  of  man. 


That  he  would  be  a  greater  favorite  with  the  major 
ity  of  readers  if  he  brought  his  singular  capacity  for 
vivid  and  truth-like  narrative  to  bear  on  subjects  nearer 
ordinary  life,  and  of  a  more  cheerful  and  happy  char 
acter,  does  not,  I  think,  admit  of  a  doubt.  But 
whether  with  the  few  he  is  not  all  the  more  appre 
ciable  from  the  difficult  nature  of  the  fields  which  he 
has  principally  chosen,  is  questionable.  For  what  he 
has  done,  many  of  the  best  minds  of  America,  England 
and  France,  have  awarded  him  praise  ;  labors  of  a 
tamer  nature  might  not  have  won  it  from  such  sources. 
For  my  individual  part,  having  the  seventy  or  more 
tales,  analytic,  mystic,  grotesque,  arabesque,  always 
wonderful,  often  great,  which  his  industry  and  fertility 
have  already  given  us,  I  would  like  to  read  one  cheer 
ful  book  made  by  his  invention,  with  little  or  no  aid 
from  its  twin  brother  imagination  —  a  book  in  his 
admirable  style  of  full,  minute,  never  tedious  narrative 
—  a  book  full  of  homely  doings,  of  successful  toils,  of 
ingenious  shifts  and  contrivances,  of  ruddy  firesides  — 
a  book  healthy  and  happy  throughout,  and  with  no 
poetry  in  it  at  all  anywhere,  except  a  good  old  Eng 
lish  "poetic  justice  "  in  the  end.  Such  a  book,  such 
as  Mr.  Poe  could  make  it,  would  be  a  book  for  the 
million,  and  if  it  did  nothing  to  exalt  him  with  the 
few,  would  yet  certainly  endear  him  to  them. 

Mr.  Lowell  has  gone  deeply  and  discriminatingly 
into  Mr.  Poe's  merits  as  a  poet.  Any  elaborate  re 
marks  of  mine  on  the  same  subject,  would  be  out  of 
place  here.  I  will  not,  however,  lose  this  oppor 
tunity  of  expressing  an  admiration  which  I  have  long 
entertained  of  the  singular  mastery  of  certain  externals 
of  his  art  which  he  everywhere  exhibits  in  his  verse. 
His  rhythm,  and  his  vocabulary,  or  phraseology,  are 

EDGAR    A.    POE.  391 

perhaps  perfect.  The  reader  has  perceived  the  beauty 
of  the  rhythm  in  The  Raven.  Some  other  verses  from 
poems  to  which  Mr.  Lowell  has  referred,  are  quite  as 
remarkable  for  this  beauty.  Read  these  verses  from 
Lenore  :  — 

And  take  these,  in  the  most  graceful  of  all  mea 
sures  — they  are  from  "  To  One  in  Paradise. " 

**  And  all  my  days  are  trances 

And  all  my  nightly  dreams 
Are  where  thy  dark  eye  glances, 

And  where  thy  footstep  gleams  — 
In  what  ethereal  dances, 

By  what  eternal  streams." 

Along  with  wonderful  beauty  of  rhythm,  these 
verses  show  the  exquisite  taste  in  phraseology,  the 
nice  sense  of  melody  and  aptness  in  words,  of  which  I 
spoke.  We  have  direct  evidence  of  this  nice  sense  of 
verbal  melody  in  some  quotations  which  are  intro 
duced  into  the  dramatic  fragment  "  Politian."  Lalage 
reads  from  a  volume  of  our  elder  English  Dramatists  : 

I  must  conclude  these  insufficient  remarks  upon  a 
writer  worthy  of  high  and  honorable  place  amongst  the 
leading  creative  minds  of  the  age. 

As  regards  the  Wiley  &  Putnam  publication  of  Mr. 
Poe's  tales — a  volume  by  which  his  rare  literary 
claims  have  been  most  recently  presented  to  the  public 
—  I  think  the  book  in  some  respects  does  him  injus 
tice.  It  contains  twelve  tales  out  of  more  than  sev 
enty  ;  and  it  is  made  up  almost  wholly  of  what  may 
be  called  his  analytic  tales.  This  is  not  representing 
the  author's  mind  in  its  various  phases.  A  reader 
gathering  his  knowledge  of  Mr.  Foe  from  this  Wiley 


&  Putnam  issue  would  perceive  nothing  of  the  diver 
sity  and  variety  for  which  his  writings  are  in  fact  re 
markable.  Only  the  publication  of  all  his  stories,  at 
one  issue,  in  one  book,  would  show  this  diversity  and 
variety  in  their  full  force  ;  but  much  more  might  have 
been  done  to  represent  his  mind  by  a  judicious  and  not 
wholly  one-toned  selection.1 

THE    LATE    EDGAR    A.   POE. 


[Southern  Literary  Messenger,  November,  1849.] 

So  much  has  been  said  by  the  newspaper  press  of 
the  country  concerning  this  gifted  child  of  genius,  since 
his  recent  death,  that  our  readers  are  already  in  pos 
session  of  the  leading  incidents  of  his  short,  brilliant, 
erratic  and  unhappy  career.  It  is  quite  unnecessary 
that  we  should  recount  them  in  this  place.  We  feel 
it  due  to  the  dead,  however,  as  editor  of  a  magazine 
which  owes  its  earliest  celebrity  to  his  efforts,  that  some 
recognition  of  his  talent,  on  the  part  of  the  Messenger, 
should  mingle  with  the  general  apotheosis  which  just  now 
enrolls  him  on  the  list  of  «« heroes  in  history  and  gods 
in  song." 

Mr.  Poe  became  connected  with  the  Messenger  dur 
ing  the  first  year  of  its  existence.  He  was  commended 
to  the  favorable  consideration  of  the  proprietor,  the  late 

1  See  Vol.  II.  for  the  Poe-Cooke  correspondence  on  this  sub 
ject.  —  ED. 

THE   LATE   EDGAR   A.    POE.  393 

T.  W.  White,  by  the  Honorable  John  P.  Kennedy, 
who,  as  chairman  of  a  committee,  had  just  awarded  to 
Poe  the  prize  for  the  successful  tale  in  a  literary  com 
petition  at  Baltimore.  Under  his  editorial  management 
the  work  soon  became  well  known  everywhere.  Per 
haps  no  similar  enterprise  ever  prospered  so  largely  in 
its  inception,  and  we  doubt  if  any,  in  the  same  length 
of  time  — even  Blackwood  in  the  days  of  Dr.  Maginn, 
whom  Poe  in  some  respects  closely  resembled  —  ever 
published  so  many  shining  articles  from  the  same  pen. 
Those  who  will  turn  to  the  first  two  volumes  of  the 
Messenger  will  be  struck  with  the  number  and  variety 
of  his  contributions.  On  one  page  may  be  found 
some  lyric  cadence,  plaintive  and  inexpressibly  sweet, 
the  earliest  vibrations  of  those  chords  which  have  since 
thrilled  with  so  many  wild  and  wondrous  harmonies. 
On  another  some  strange  story  of  the  German  school, 
akin  to  the  most  fanciful  legends  of  the  Rhine,  fasci 
nates  and  astonishes  the  reader  with  the  verisimilitude  of 
its  improbabilities.  But  it  was  in  the  editorial  depart 
ment  of  the  magazine  that  his  power  was  most  conspic 
uously  displayed.  There  he  appeared  as  the  critic, 
not  always  impartial,  it  may  be,  in  the  distribution  of 
his  praises,  or  correct  in  the  positions  he  assumed,  but 
ever  merciless  to  the  unlucky  author  who  offended  by 
a  dull  book.  A  blunder  in  this  respect  he  considered 
worse  than  a  crime,  and  visited  it  with  corresponding 
vigor.  Among  the  nascent  novelists  and  newly  fledged 
poetasters  of  fifteen  years  ago  he  came  down  "like  a 
Visigoth  marching  on  Rome."  No  elegant  imbecile 
or  conceited  pedant,  no  matter  whether  he  made  his 
avatar  under  the  auspices  of  a  society,  or  with  the 
prestige  of  a  degree,  but  felt  the  lash  of  his  severity, 
Baccdlaurei  baculo  portius  quam  laureo  digni  was 


the  principle  of  his  action  in  such  cases,  and  to  the 
last  he  continued  to  castigate  impudent  aspirants  for 
the  bays.  Now  that  he  is  gone,  the  vast  multitude  of 
blockheads  may  breathe  again,  and  we  can  imagine 
that  we  hear  the  shade  of  the  departed  crying  out  to 
them,  in  the  epitaph  designed  for  Robespierre, 

Passant  !  ne  plains  point  mon  sort, 
Si  je  vivais,  tu  serais  mort  !  * 

It  will  readily  occur  to  the  reader  that  such  a  course, 
while  it  gained  subscribers  to  the  review,  was  not  well 
calculated  to  gain  friends  for  the  reviewer.  And  so 
Mr.  Poe  found  it,  for  during  the  two  years  of  his 
connection  with  the  Messenger,  he  contrived  to  attach 
to  himself  animosities  of  the  most  enduring  kind.  It 
was  the  fashion  with  a  large  class  to  decry  his  literary 
pretensions,  as  poet  and  romancer  and  scholar  to  rep 
resent  him  as  one  who  possessed  little  else  than 

th'  extravagancy 
And  crazy  ribaldry  of  fancy  — 

and  to  challenge  his  finest  efforts  with  a  chilling  cut 
bono,  while  the  critics  of  other  lands  and  other  tongues, 
the  Athenaeum  and  the  Revue  des  deux  Mondes, 
were  warmly  recognizing  his  high  claims.  They  did 
not  appreciate  him.  To  the  envious  obscure,  he 
might  not  indeed  seem  entitled  to  the  first  literary 
honors,  for  he  was  versed  in  a  more  profound  learning 
and  skilled  in  a  more  lofty  minstrelsy,  scholar  by  virtue 
of  a  larger  erudition  and  poet  by  the  transmission  of  a 
diviner  spark. 

Unquestionably    he    was    a  man    of  great  genius. 

1  We  translate  it  freely  : 

Traveller  !  forbear  to  mourn  my  lot, 
Thou  would'st  have  died,  if  I  had  not. 


THE   LATE   EDGAR   A.    POE.  395 

Among  the  litterateurs  of  his  day  he  stands  out  dis 
tinctively  as  an  original  writer  and  thinker.  In  nothing 
did  he  conform  to  established  custom.  Conventionality 
he  condemned.  Thus  his  writings  admit  of  no  clas 
sification.  And  yet  in  his  most  eccentric  vagaries  he 
was  always  correct.  The  fastidious  reader  may  look 
in  vain,  even  among  his  earlier  poems  —  where  "  wild 
words  wander  here  and  there,"  —  for  an  offence  against 
rhetorical  propriety.  He  did  not  easily  pardon  sole 
cisms  in  others  ;  he  committed  none  himself.  It  is 
remarkable,  too,  that  a  mind  so  prone  to  unrestrained 
imaginings  should  be  capable  of  analytic  investigation 
or  studious  research.  Yet  few  excelled  Mr.  Poe  in 
power  of  analysis  or  patient  application.  Such  are 
the  contradictions  of  the  human  intellect.  He  was  an 
impersonated  antithesis. 

The  regret  has  been  often  expressed  that  Mr.  Poe 
did  not  bring  his  singular  capacity  to  bear  on  subjects 
nearer  ordinary  life  and  of  a  more  cheerful  nature  than 
the  gloomy  incidents  of  his  tales  and  sketches.  P.  P. 
Cooke,  (the  accomplished  author  of  the  Froissart  Bal 
lads,  who,  we  predict,  will  one  day  take,  by  common 
consent,  his  rightful  high  position  in  American  letters,) 
in  a  discriminating  essay  on  the  genius  of  Poe,  pub 
lished  in  this  magazine  for  January,  1848,  remarks 
upon  this  point :  — 

"  For  my  individual  part,  having  the  seventy  or 
more  tales,  analytic,  mystic,  grotesque,  arabesque,  al 
ways  wonderful,  often  great,  which  his  industry  and 
fertility  have  already  given  us,  I  would  like  to  read 
one  cheerful  book  made  by  his  invention,  with  little 
or  no  aid  from  its  twin  brother  imagination  —  a  book 
in  his  admirable  style  of  full,  minute,  never  tedious 
narrative  —  a  book  full  of  homely  doings,  of  successful 


toils,  of  ingenious  shifts  and  contrivances,  of  ruddy 
firesides  —  a  book  happy  and  healthy  throughout,  and 
with  no  poetry  in  it  at  all  anywhere,  except  a  good 
old  English  poetic  justice  in  the  end." 

That  such  a  work  would  have  greatly  enhanced  Mr. 
Poe's  reputation  with  the  million,  we  think,  will 
scarcely  be  disputed.  But  it  could  not  be.  Mr.  Poe 
was  not  the  man  to  have  produced  a  home-book.  He 
had  little  of  the  domestic  feeling  and  his  thoughts  were 
ever  wandering.  He  was  either  in  criticism  or  in  the 
clouds,  by  turns  a  disciplinarian  and  a  dreamer.  And 
in  his  dreams,  what  visions  came  to  him,  may  be 
gathered  to  some  extent  from  the  revealings  he  has 
given  —  visions  wherein  his  fancy  would  stray  off 
upon  some  new  Walpurgis,  or  descend  into  the  dark 
realms  of  the  Inferno,  and  where  occasionally,  through 
the  impenetrable  gloom,  the  supernal  beauty  of  Lenore 
would  burst  upon  his  sight,  as  did  the  glorified  Beatrice 
on  the  rapt  gaze  of  the  Italian  master. 

The  poems  of  Mr.  Poe  are  remarkable,  above  all 
other  characteristics,  for  the  exceeding  melody  of  the 
versification.  "  Ulalume  "  might  be  cited  as  a  happy 
instance  of  this  quality,  but  we  prefer  to  quote  "  The 
Bells  "  from  the  last  number  of  the  Union  Magazine. 
It  was  the  design  of  the  author,  as  he  himself  told  us, 
to  express  in  language  the  exact  sounds  of  bells  to  the 
ear.  He  has  succeeded,  we  think,  far  better  than 
Southey,  who  attempted  a  similar  feat,  to  tell  us  ( '  how 
the  waters  come  down  at  Lodore." 

[Here  follows  "The  Bells."] 

The  untimely  death  of  Mr.  Poe  occasioned  a  very 
general  feeling  of  regret,  although  little  genuine  sorrow 
was  called  forth  by  it,  out  of  the  narrow  circle  of  his 

THE  LATE  EDGAR   A.   POE.  397 

relatives.  We  have  received,  in  our  private  corre 
spondence,  from  various  quarters  of  the  Union,  warm 
tributes  to  his  talent,  some  of  which  we  take  the  liberty 
of  quoting,  though  not  designed  for  publication.  A 
friend  in  the  country  writes  :  — 

"  Many  who  deem  themselves  perfect  critics  talk  of 
the  want  of  moral  in  the  writings  and  particularly  the 
poetry  of  Poe.  They  would  have  every  one  to  write 
like  ^Esop,  with  the  moral  distinctly  drawn  at  the  end  to 
prevent  mistake.  Such  men  would  object  to  the  meteor, 
or  the  lightning's  flash,  because  it  lasts  only  for  the  mo 
ment —  and  yet  they  speak  the  power  of  God,  and  fill  our 
minds  with  the  sublime  more  readily  than  does  the  endur 
ing  sunlight.  It  is  thus  with  the  writings  of  Poe.  Every 
moment  there  comes  across  the  darkness  of  his  style  a 
flash  of  that  spirit  which  is  not  of  earth.  You  cannot 
analyze  the  feeling  —  you  cannot  tell  in  what  the  beauty 
of  a  particular  passage  consists  5  and  yet  you  feel  that  deep 
pathos  which  only  genius  can  incite  —  you  feel  the 
trembling  of  that  melancholy  chord  which  fills  the  soul 
with  pleasant  mournfulness  —  you  feel  that  deep  yearning 
for  something  brighter  and  better  than  this  world  can  give 
—  that  unutterable  gushing  of  the  heart  which  springs  up 
at  the  touch  of  the  enchanter,  as  poured  the  stream  from 

*  Horeb's  rock,  beneath  the  prophet's  hand  !  ' 

"  I  wish  I  could  convey  to  you  the  impression  which  the 
4  Raven  *  has  made  upon  me.  I  had  read  it  hastily  in 
times  gone  by  without  appreciation  j  but  now  it  is  a 
study  to  me  —  as  I  go  along  like  Sinbad  in  the  Valley  of 
Diamonds,  I  find  a  new  jewel  at  every  step.  The  beau 
tiful  rhythm,  the  mournful  cadence,  still  ring  in  the  ear  for 
hours  after  a  perusal  —  whilst  the  heart  is  bowed  down 
by  the  outpourings  of  a  soul  made  desolate  not  alone  by 
disappointed  love,  but  by  crushing  of  every  hope,  and 
every  aspiration.'" 


In  a  recent  letter  the  following  noble  acknowledg 
ment  is  made  by  the  first  of  American  poets  —  Henry 
W.  Longfellow  —  towards  whom,  it  must  be  said,  Mr. 
Poe  did  not  always  act  with  justice.  Mr.  Longfellow 
will  pardon  us,  we  trust,  for  publishing  what  was 
intended  as  a  private  communication.  The  passage 
evidences  a  magnanimity  which  belongs  only  to  great 

"  What  a  melancholy  death,"  says  Mr.  Longfellow, 
"  is  that  of  Mr.  Poe  —  a  man  so  richly  endowed  with 
genius  !  I  never  knew  him  personally,  but  have  always 
entertained  a  high  appreciation  of  his  powers  as  a 
prose-writer  and  a  poet.  His  prose  is  remarkably 
vigorous,  direct  and  yet  affluent ;  and  his  verse  has  a 
particular  charm  of  melody,  an  atmosphere  of  true 
poetry  about  it,  which  is  very  winning.  The  harsh 
ness  of  his  criticisms,  I  have  never  attributed  to  any 
thing  but  the  irritation  of  a  sensitive  nature,  chafed  by 
some  indefinite  sense  of  wrong." 

It  was  not  until  within  two  years  past  that  we  ever 
met  Mr.  Poe,  but  during  that  time,  and  especially 
for  two  or  three  months  previous  to  his  death,  we  saw 
him  very  often.  When  in  Richmond,  he  made  the 
office  of  the  Messenger  a  place  of  frequent  resort. 
His  conversation  was  always  attractive,  and  at  times 
very  brilliant.  Among  modern  authors  his  favorite 
was  Tennyson,  and  he  delighted  to  recite  from  "  The 
Princess"  the  song  "Tears,  idle  tears;  "  a  fragment 
of  which 

—  'when  unto  dying'  eyes 
The  casement  slowly  grows  a  glimmering  square,  — 

he  pronounced  unsurpassed   by  any  image  expressed 
in  writing.      The  day   before  he  left   Richmond,   he 

DEFENCE   OF   POE.  399 

placed  in  our  hands  for  publication  in  the  Messenger, 
the  MS.  of  his  last  poem,  which  has  since  found  its 
way  (through  a  correspondent  of  a  northern  paper  with 
whom  Mr.  Poe  had  left  a  copy)  into  the  newspaper 
press,  and  been  extensively  circulated.  As  it  was  de 
signed  for  this  magazine,  however,  we  publish  it,  even 
though  all  of  our  readers  may  have  seen  it  before  : 

[Here  follows  "Annabel  Lee."] 

In  what  we  have  said  of  Mr.  Poe,  we  have  been 
considering  only  the  brighter  side  of  the  picture.  That 
he  had  many  and  sad  infirmities  cannot  be  questioned. 
Over  these  we  would  throw  in  charity  the  mantle  of 
forgetfulness.  The  grave  has  come  between  our  per 
ception  and  his  errors,  and  we  pass  them  over  in  silence. 
They  found  indeed  a  mournful  expiation  in  his  alienated 
friendships  and  his  early  death. 

J.  R.   T. 



[Graham's  Magazine,  1850.] 

MY  DEAR  WILLIS,  —  In  an  article  of  yours  which 
accompanies  the  two  beautiful  volumes  of  the  writings 
of  Edgar  Allan  Poe,  you  have  spoken  with  so  much 
truth  and  delicacy  of  the  deceased,  and,  with  the 
magical  touch  of  genius,  have  called  so  warmly  up 
before  me  the  memory  of  our  lost  friend  as  you  and  I 
both  seem  to  have  known  him,  that  I  feel  warranted 
in  addressing  to  you  the  few  plain  words  I  have  to 


say  in   defence   of  his   character  as  set  down  by  Mr. 

Although  the  article,  it  seems,  appeared  originally 
in  the  "  New  York  Tribune,"  l  it  met  my  eye  for  the 
first  time  in  the  volumes  before  me.  I  now  purpose 
to  take  exception  to  it  in  the  most  public  manner.  I 
knew  Mr.  Poe  well,  far  better  than  Mr.  Griswold  ; 
and  by  the  memory  of  old  times,  when  he  was  an 
editor  of  "Graham,"  I  pronounce  this  exceedingly 
ill-timed  and  unappreciative  estimate  of  the  character 
of  our  lost  friend,  unfair  and  untrue.  It  is  Mr.  Poe 
as  seen  by  the  writer  while  laboring  under  a  fit  of  the 
nightmare,  but  so  dark  a  picture  has  no  resemblance 
to  the  living  man.  Accompanying  these  beautiful 
volumes,  it  is  an  immortal  infamy,  the  death's  head 
over  the  entrance  to  the  garden  of  beauty,  a  horror  that 
clings  to  the  brow  of  morning,  whispering  of  murder. 
It  haunts  the  memory  through  every  page  of  his  writ 
ings,  leaving  upon  the  heart  a  sensation  of  utter  gloom, 
a  feeling  almost  of  terror.  The  only  relief  we  feel  is 
in  knowing  that  it  is  not  true,  that  it  is  a  fancy  sketch 
of  a  perverted,  jaundiced  vision.  The  man  who  could 
deliberately  say  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe,  in  a  notice  of  his 
life  and  writings  prefacing  the  volumes  which  were  to 
become  a  priceless  souvenir  to  all  who  loved  him,  that 
his  death  might  startle  many,  "but  that  few  would 
be  grieved  by  it"  and  blast  the  whole  fame  of  the 
man  by  such  a  paragraph  as  follows,  is  a  judge  dishon 
ored.  He  is  not  Mr.  Poe's  peer,  and  I  challenge 
him  before  the  country  even  as  a  juror  in  the  case. 

"  His  harsh  experience  had  deprived  him  of  all  faith 
in  man  or  woman.  He  had  made  up  his  mind  upon  the 

1  The  "  Ludwig  Article  "  expanded  afterwards  into  the  "Me 
moir."  —  ED. 

DEFENCE  OF   POE.  401 

numberless  complexities  of  the  social  world,  and  the  whole 
system  with  him  was  an  imposture.  This  conviction  gave 
a  direction  to  his  shrewd  and  naturally  unamiable  char 
acter.  Still,  though  he  regarded  society  as  composed 
altogether  of  villains,  the  sharpness  of  his  intellect  was 
not  of  that  kind  which  enabled  him  to  cope  with  vil 
lainy,  while  it  continually  caused  him,  by  overshots,  to 
fail  of  the  success  of  honesty.  He  was  in  many  respects 
like  Francois  Vivian  in  Bulwer's  novel  of  'The  Caxtons/ 
Passion,  in  him,  comprehended  many  of  the  worst  emo 
tions  which  militate  against  human  happiness.  You  could 
not  contradict  him,  but  you  raised  quick  choler ;  you 
could  not  speak  of  wealth,  but  his  cheek  paled  with 
gnawing  envy.  The  astonishing  natural  advantages  of 
this  poor  boy,  —  his  beauty,  his  readiness,  the  daring 
spirit  that  breathed  around  him  like  a  fiery  atmosphere, 
had  raised  his  constitutional  self-confidence  into  an  arro 
gance  that  turned  his  very  claims  to  admiration  into  preju 
dices  against  him.  Irascible,  envious,  bad  enough,  but 
not  the  worst,  for  these  salient  angles  were  all  var 
nished  over  with  a  cold,  repellant  cynicism  ;  his  pas 
sions  vented  themselves  in  sneers.  There  seemed  to 
him  no  moral  susceptibility  ,•  and,  what  was  more 
remarkable  in  a  proud  nature,  little  or  nothing  of  the 
true  point  of  honor.  He  had,  too,  a  morbid  excess, 
that  desire  to  rise  which  is  vulgarly  called  ambition, 
but  no  wish  for  the  esteem  or  the  love  of  his  species; 
only  the  hard  wish  to  succeed,  —  not  shine,  nor  serve, — 
succeed,  that  he  might  have  the  right  to  despise  a  world 
which  galled  his  self-conceit." 

Now,  this  is  dastardly,  and,  what  is  worse,  it  is 
false.  It  is  very  adroitly  done,  with  phrases  very  well 
turned,  and  with  gleams  of  truth  shining  out  from  a 
setting  so  dusky  as  to  look  devilish.  Mr.  Griswold 
does  not  feel  the  worth  of  the  man  he  has  undervalued; 
he  had  no  sympathies  in  common  with  him,  and  has 
VOL.  i.  —  26 


allowed  old  prejudices  and  old  enmities  to  steal,  insen 
sibly  perhaps,  into  the  coloring  of  his  picture.  They 
were  for  years  totally  uncongenial,  if  not  enemies,  and 
during  that  period  Mr.  Poe,  in  a  scathing  lecture  upon 
"  The  Poets  of  America,"  gave  Mr.  Griswold  some 
raps  over  the  knuckles  of  force  sufficient  to  be  remem 
bered.  He  had,  too,  in  the  exercise  of  his  functions 
as  critic,  put  to  death  summarily  the  literary  reputa 
tion  of  some  of  Mr.  Griswold 's  best  friends  ;  and 
their  ghosts  cried  in  vain  for  him  to  avenge  them 
during  Poe's  lifetime  ;  and  it  almost  seems  as  if  the 
present  hacking  at  the  cold  remains  of  him  who  struck 
them  down,  is  a  sort  of  compensation  for  duty  long 
delayed,  for  reprisal  long  desired,  but  deferred.  But 
without  this,  the  opportunities  afforded  Mr.  Griswold 
to  estimate  the  character  of  Poe  occurred,  in  the  main, 
after  his  stability  had  been  wrecked,  his  whole  nature 
in  a  degree  changed,  and  with  all  his  prejudices  aroused 
and  active.  Nor  do  I  consider  Mr.  Griswold  com 
petent,  with  all  the  opportunities  he  may  have  culti 
vated  or  acquired,  to  act  as  his  judge,  to  dissect  that 
subtle  and  singularly  fine  intellect,  to  probe  the  mo 
tives  and  weigh  the  actions  of  that  proud  heart.  His 
whole  nature,  that  distinctive  presence  of  the  departed, 
which  now  stands  impalpable,  yet  in  strong  outline 
before  me,  as  I  knew  him  and  felt  him  to  be,  eludes 
the  rude  grasp  of  a  mind  so  warped  and  uncongenial 
as  Mr.  Griswold' s. 

But  it  may  be  said,  my  dear  Willis,  that  Mr.  Poe 
himself  deputed  him  to  act  as  his  literary  executor,  and 
that  he  must  have  felt  some  confidence,  in  his  ability 
at  least,  if  not  in  his  integrity,  to  perform  the  functions 
imposed,  with  discretion  and  honor.  I  do  not  pur 
pose,  now,  to  enter  into  any  examination  of  the  ap- 

DEFENCE   OF   POE.  403 

pointment  of  Mr.  Griswold,  nor  of  the  wisdom  of  his 
appointment,  to  the  solemn  trust  of  handing  the  fair 
fame  of  the  deceased,  unimpaired,  to  that  posterity  to 
which  the  dying  poet  bequeathed  his  legacy,  but  simply 
to  question  its  faithful  performance.  Among  the  true 
friends  of  Poe  in  this  city  —  and  he  had  some  such 
here  —  there  are  those,  I  am  sure,  that  be  did  not 
class  among  villains;  nor  do  they  feel  easy  when 
they  see  their  old  friend  dressed  out,  in  his  grave,  in 
the  habiliments  of  a  scoundrel.  There  is  something 
to  them  in  this  mode  of  procedure  on  the  part  of  the 
literary  executor  that  does  not  chime  in  with  their 
notions  of  "  the  true  point  of  honor."  They  had  all 
of  them  looked  upon  our  departed  friend  as  singularly 
indifferent  to  wealth  for  its  own  sake,  but  as  very 
positive  in  his  opinions  that  the  scale  of  social  merit 
was  not  of  the  highest ;  that  mind,  somehow,  was  apt 
to  be  left  out  of  the  estimate  altogether  ;  and,  partak 
ing  somewhat  of  his  free  way  of  thinking,  his  friends 
are  startled  to  find  they  have  entertained  very  unami- 
able  convictions.  As  to  his  "quick  choler  "  when 
he  was  contradicted,  it  depended  a  good  deal  upon  the 
party  denying,  as  well  as  upon  the  subject  discussed. 
He  was  quick,  it  is  true,  to  perceive  mere  quacks  in 
literature,  and  somewhat  apt  to  be  hasty  when  pes 
tered  with  them ;  but  upon  most  other  questions  his 
natural  amiability  was  not  easily  disturbed.  Upon  a 
subject  that  he  understood  thoroughly,  he  felt  some 
right  to  be  positive,  if  not  arrogant,  when  addressing 
pretenders.  His  "astonishing  natural  advantages" 
bad  been  very  assiduously  cultivated ;  his  "  daring 
spirit"  was  the  anointed  of  genius  ;  his  self-confidence 
the  proud  conviction  of  both ;  and  it  was  with  some 
thing  of  a  lofty  scorn  that  he  attacked,  as  well  as  re- 


pelled,  a  crammed  scholar  of  the  hour,  who  attempted 
to  palm  upon  him  his  ill-digested  learning.  Litera 
ture  with  him  was  religion  ;  and  he,  its  high  priest, 
with  a  whip  of  scorpions,  scourged  the  money-changers 
from  the  temple.  In  all  else,  he  had  the  docility  and 
kind-heartedness  of  a  child.  No  man  was  more  quickly 
touched  by  a  kindness,  none  more  prompt  to  return 
for  an  injury.  For  three  or  four  years  I  knew  him 
intimately,  and  for  eighteen  months  saw  him  almost 
daily,  much  of  the  time  writing  or  conversing  at  the 
same  desk,  knowing  all  his  hopes,  his  fears,  and  little 
annoyances  of  life,  as  well  as  his  high-hearted  struggle 
with  adverse  fate  ;  yet  he  was  always  the  same  polished 
gentleman,  the  quiet,  unobtrusive,  thoughtful  scholar, 
the  devoted  husband,  frugal  in  his  personal  expenses, 
punctual  and  unwearied  in  his  industry,  and  the  soul 
of  honor  in  all  his  transactions.  This,  of  course,  was 
in  his  better  days,  and  by  them  we  judge  the  man. 
But  even  after  his  habits  had  changed,  there  was  no 
literary  man  to  whom  I  would  more  readily  advance 
money  for  labor  to  be  done.  He  kept  his  accounts, 
small  as  they  were,  with  the  accuracy  of  a  banker.  I 
append  an  account  sent  to  me  in  his  own  hand,  long 
after  he  had  left  Philadelphia,  and  after  all  knowledge 
of  the  transactions  it  recited  had  escaped  my  memory. 
I  had  returned  him  the  story  of  "The  Gold  Bug," 
at  his  own  request,  as  he  found  that  he  could  dispose 
of  it  very  advantageously  elsewhere  :  — 

We  were  square  when  I  sold  you  the  "  Versi 
fication  "  article,  for  which  you  gave,  first,  $25, 

and  afterwards  $7  —  in  all $32.00 

Then  you  bought  "The  Gold  Bug"  for      .      .      52.00 

I  got  both  these  back,  so  that  I  owed        .      .     .    $84.00 

DEFENCE   OF   POE.  405 

Brought  over $84.00 

You  lent  Mrs.  Clemm 12.50 

Making  in  all $96-5° 

The  review  of  "  Flaccus  "  was  3^  pp., 

which,  $4,  is $15.00 

Lowell's  poem  is 10.00 

The  review  of  Channing,  4  pp.,  is  $16, 

of  which  I  got  $6,  leaving  .  .  .  10.00 
The  review  of  Halleck,  4  pp.j  is  $16, 

of  which  I  got  $10,  leaving  ...  6.00 
The  review  of  Reynolds,  2  pp.  .  .  8.00 
The  review  of  Longfellow,  5  pp.,  is 

$20,  of  which  I  got  $10,  leaving      .      10.00 

So  that  I  have  paid  in  all 59.00 

Which  leaves  stiil  due  by  me $37-5° 

This,  I  find,  was  his  uniform  habit  with  others  as 
well  as  myself,  carefully  recalling  to  mind  his  indebt 
edness  with  the  fresh  article  sent.  And  this  is  the 
man  who  had  "no  moral  susceptibility,"  and  little  or 
nothing  of  the  "true  point  of  honor."  It  may  be  a 
very  plain  business  view  of  the  question,  but  it  strikes 
his  friends  that  it  may  pass  as  something,  as  times  go. 

I  shall  never  forget  how  solicitous  of  the  happiness 
of  his  wife  and  mother-in-law  he  was  whilst  one  of 
the  editors  of  Graham* s  Magazine  his  whole  efforts 
seemed  to  be  to  procure  the  comfort  and  welfare 
of  his  home.  Except  for  their  happiness,  and  the 
natural  ambition  of  having  a  magazine  of  his  own,  I 
never  heard  him  deplore  the  want  of  wealth.  The 
truth  is,  he  cared  little  for  money,  and  knew  less  of 
its  value,  for  he  seemed  to  have  no  personal  expenses. 
What  he  received  from  me,  in  regular  monthly  instal- 


ments,  went  directly  into  the  hands  of  his  mother-in- 
law  for  family  comforts,  and  twice  only  I  remember 
his  purchasing  some  rather  expensive  luxuries  for  his 
house,  and  then  he  was  nervous  to  the  degree  of 
misery  until  he  had,  by  extra  articles,  covered  what 
he  considered  an  imprudent  indebtedness.  His  love  for 
his  wife  was  a  sort  of  rapturous  worship  of  the  spirit 
of  beauty  which  he  felt  was  fading  before  his  eyes. 
I  have  seen  him  hovering  around  her  when  she  was  ill, 
with  all  the  fond  fear  and  tender  anxiety  of  a  mother 
for  her  first-born,  her  slightest  cough  causing  in  him  a 
shudder,  a  heart-chill  that  was  visible.  I  rode  out, 
one  summer  evening,  with  them,  and  the  remembrance 
of  his  watchful  eyes  eagerly  bent  upon  the  slightest 
change  of  hue  in  that  loved  face  haunts  me  yet  as  the 
memory  of  a  sad  strain.  It  was  the  hourly  antici 
pation  of  her  loss  that  made  him  a  sad  and  thought 
ful  man,  and  lent  a  mournful  melody  to  his  undying 

It  is  true,  that  later  in  life  Poe  had  much  of  those 
morbid  feelings  which  a  life  of  poverty  and  disappoint 
ment  is  so  apt  to  engender  in  the  heart  of  man  —  the 
sense  of  having  been  ill-used,  misunderstood,  and  put 
aside  by  men  of  far  less  ability,  and  of  none,  — which 
preys  upon  the  heart  and  clouds  the  brain  of  many  a 
child  of  song.  A  consciousness  of  the  inequalities  of 
life,  and  of  the  abundant  power  of  mere  wealth,  allied 
even  to  vulgarity,  to  override  all  distinctions,  and  to 
thrust  itself,  bedaubed  with  dirt  and  glittering  with 
tinsel,  into  the  high  places  of  society,  and  the  chief 
seats  of  the  synagogue  ;  whilst  he,  a  worshipper  of  the 
beautiful  and  true,  who  listened  to  the  voices  of  angels 
and  held  delighted  companionship  with  them  as  the 
cold  throng  swept  disdainfully  by  him,  was  often 

DEFENCE   OF    POE.  4.07 

in  danger  of  being  thrust  out,  houseless,  homeless, 
beggared,  upon  the  world,  with  all  his  fine  feelings 
strung  to  a  tension  of  agony  when  he  thought  of  his 
beautiful  and  delicate  wife,  dying  hourly  before  his 
eyes.  What  wonder  that  he  then  poured  out  the 
vials  of  a  long-treasured  bitterness  upon  the  injustice 
and  hollowness  of  all  society  around  him.  The  very 
natural  question  "  Why  did  he  not  work  and  thrive  ?  " 
is  easily  answered.  It  will  not  be  asked  by  the 
many  who  know  the  precarious  tenure  by  which  lit 
erary  men  hold  a  mere  living  in  this  country.  The 
avenues  through  which  they  can  profitably  reach  the 
country  are  few,  and  crowded  with  aspirants  for  bread, 
as  well  as  fame.  The  unfortunate  tendency  to  cheapen 
every  literary  work  to  the  lowest  point  of  beggarly  flim- 
siness  in  price  and  profit,  prevents  even  the  well-dis 
posed  from  extending  anything  like  an  adequate  support 
to  even  a  part  of  the  great  throng  which  genius,  talent, 
education,  and  even  misfortune,  force  into  the  strug 
gle.  The  character  of  Foe's  mind  was  of  such  an 
order  as  not  to  be  very  widely  in  demand.  The  class 
of  educated  mind  which  he  could  readily  and  profitably 
address  was  small  —  the  channels  through  which  he 
could  do  so  at  all  were  few  —  and  publishers  all,  or 
nearly  all,  contented  with  such  pens  as  were  already 
engaged,  hesitated  to  incur  the  expense  of  his  to 
an  extent  which  would  sufficiently  remunerate  him  ; 
hence,  when  he  was  fairly  at  sea,  connected  per 
manently  with  no  publication,  he  suffered  all  the 
horrors  of  prospective  destitution,  with  scarcely  the 
ability  of  providing  for  immediate  necessities  ;  and 
at  such  moments,  alas  !  the  tempter  often  came, 
and  as  you  have  truly  said,  "  one  glass"  of  wine 
made  him  a  madman.  Let  the  moralist,  who  stands 


upon  "  tufted  carpet/*  and  surveys  his  smoking 
board,  the  fruits  of  his  individual  toil  or  mercantile 
adventure,  pause  before  he  let  the  anathema,  trem 
bling  upon  his  lips,  fall  upon  a  man  like  Poe,  who, 
wandering  from  publisher  to  publisher,  with  his  fine, 
print-like  manuscript,  scrupulously  clean  and  neatly 
rolled,  finds  no  market  for  his  brain — with  despair 
at  heart,  misery  ahead,  for  himself  and  his  loved  ones, 
and  gaunt  famine  dogging  at  his  heels,  thus  sinks  by 
the  wayside,  before  the  demon  that  watches  his  steps 
and  whispers  oblivion.  Of  all  the  miseries  which 
God,  or  his  own  vices,  inflict  upon  man,  none  are  so 
terrible  as  that  of  having  the  strong  and  willing  arm 
struck  down  to  a  childlike  inefficiency,  while  the 
Heart  and  Will  have  the  purpose  of  a  giant's  out 
doing.  We  must  remember,  too,  that  the  very 
organization  of  such  a  mind  as  that  of  Poe  —  the 
very  tension  and  tone  of  his  exquisitely  strung  nerves 
—  the  passionate  yearnings  of  his  soul  for  the  beauti 
ful  and  true,  utterly  unfitted  him  for  the  rude  jostlings 
and  fierce  competitorship  of  trade.  The  only  drafts 
of  his  that  could  be  honored  were  those  upon  his 
brain.  The  unpeopled  air  —  the  caverns  of  ocean  — 
the  decay  and  mystery  that  hang  around  old  castles  — 
the  thunder  of  wind  through  the  forest  aisles  —  the 
spirits  that  rode  the  blast,  by  all  but  him  unseen  — 
and  the  deep,  metaphysical  creations  which  floated 
through  the  chambers  of  his  soul  —  were  his  only 
wealth,  the  High  Change  where  only  his  signature 
was  valid  for  rubies. 

Could  he  have  stepped  down  and  chronicled  small 
beer,  made  himself  the  shifting  toady  of  the  hour,  and, 
with  bow  and  cringe,  hung  upon  the  steps  of  great 
ness,  sounding  the  g'ory  of  third-rate  ability  with  a 

DEFENCE   OF    POE.  409 

penny  trumpet,  he  would  have  been  feted  alive,  and 
perhaps  been  praised  when  dead.  But,  no !  his  views 
of  the  duty  of  the  critic  were  stern,  and  he  felt 
that  in  praising  an  unworthy  writer  he  committed  dis 
honor.  His  pen  was  regulated  by  the  highest  sense  of 
duty.  By  a  keen  analysis  he  separated  and  studied 
each  piece  which  the  skilful  mechanist  had  put  together. 
No  part,  however  insignificant  or  apparently  unimpor 
tant,  escaped  the  rigid  and  patient  scrutiny  of  his  saga 
cious  mind.  The  unfitted  joint  proved  the  bungler  — 
the  slightest  blemish  was  a  palpable  fraud.  He  was 
the  scrutinizing  lapidary,  who  detected  and  exposed  the 
most  minute  flaw  in  diamonds.  The  gem  of  first 
water  shone  the  brighter  for  the  truthful  setting  of 
his  calm  praise.  He  had  the  finest  touch  of  soul  for 
beauty  —  a  delicate  and  hearty  appreciation  of  worth. 
If  his  praise  appeared  tardy,  it  was  of  priceless  value 
wher  given.  It  was  true  as  well  as  sincere.  It  was 
the  stroke  of  honor  that  at  once  knighted  the  receiver. 
It  was  in  the  world  of  mind  that  he  was  king  ;  and, 
with  a  fierce  audacity,  he  felt  and  proclaimed  himself 
autocrat.  As  a  critic,  he  was  despotic,  supreme.  Yet 
no  man  with  more  readiness  would  soften  a  harsh  ex 
pression  at  the  request  of  a  friend,  or  if  he  himself  felt 
that  he  had  infused  too  great  a  degree  of  bitterness  into 
his  article,  none  would  more  readily  soften  it  down 
after  it  was  in  type  —  though  still  maintaining  the 
justness  of  his  critical  views.  I  do  not  believe  that 
he  wrote  to  give  pain  ;  but  in  combating  what  he  con 
ceived  to  be  error,  he  used  the  strongest  word  that 
presented  itself,  even  in  conversation.  He  labored  not 
so  much  to  reform  as  to  exterminate  error,  and 
thought  the  shortest  process  was  to  pull  it  up  by  the 


He  was  a  worshipper  of  intellect  —  longing  to 
grasp  the  power  of  mind  that  moves  the  stars  —  to 
bathe  his  soul  in  the  dreams  of  seraphs.  He  was 
himself  all  ethereal,  of  a  fine  essence,  that  moved  in 
an  atmosphere  of  spirits  —  of  spiritual  beauty,  over 
flowing  and  radiant  —  twin-brother  with  the  angels, 
feeling  their  flashing  wings  upon  his  heart,  and  almost 
clasping  them  in  his  embrace.  Of  them,  and  as  an 
expectant  archangel  of  that  high  order  of  intellect, 
stepping  out  of  himself,  as  it  were,  and  interpreting 
the  time  he  revelled  in  delicious  luxury  in  a  world 
beyond,  with  an  audacity  which  we  fear  in  madmen, 
but  in  genius  worship  as  the  inspiration  of  heaven. 

But  my  object,  in  throwing  together  a  few  thoughts 
upon  the  character  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe,  was  not  to  at 
tempt  an  elaborate  criticism,  but  to  say  what  might 
palliate  grave  faults  that  have  been  attributed  to  him, 
and  to  meet  by  facts  unjust  accusation ;  in  a  word,  to 
give  a  mere  outline  of  the  man  as  he  lived  before  me. 
I  think  I  am  warranted  in  saying  to  Mr.  Griswold 
that  he  must  review  his  decision.  It  will  not  stand 
the  calm  scrutiny  of  his  own  judgment,  or  of  time, 
while  it  must  be  regarded  by  all  the  friends  of  Mr. 
Poe  as  an  ill-judged  and  misplaced  calumny  upon  that 
gifted  son  of  genius. 

Yours  truly, 

PHILADELPHIA,  February  2,  1850. 

To  N.  P.  WILLIS,  Esq. 


ADAMS,  JOHN,  President,  death  of,  1826,  56. 

"  Al  Aaraafand  Minor  Poems,"    72,  75. 

Albemarle,  county  of,  distinguished  families  in,  50. 

Alexander,  C.  W.,  testifies  to  Poe's  gentleness  of  disposition,  1355 
denies  Poe's  neglect  of  his  office  duties,  157. 

Allan,  Hoffman,  son  of  John  Allan,  2d,  78. 

Allan,  John,  adopts  Edgar  Poe,  12  5  mythical  stories  of  his  wealth, 
14  5  business  failure  of,  15  ;  receives  inheritance  from  his  uncle 
Gait,  1 6  5  sends  Poe  to  University  of  Virginia,  16  ;  sails  with 
his  family  to  England,  1 7  5  engaged  in  tobacco  business,  22  j 
dies  of  dropsy,  1 1 1 . 

Allan,  John,  son  of  John  and  Louisa  Gabriella  Allan,  78. 

Allan,  Mrs.  (the  first),  dies,  77. 

Allan,  Patterson,  son  of  John  and  Louisa  Gabriella  Allan,  78. 

Allan,  William  Gait,  son  of  John  and  Louisa  Gabriella  Allan,  78. 

Ambler,  Richard  Gary,  appears  in  dramatic  representation  with 
Poe,  25. 

Anderson,  Beverley,  member  of  the  Thespian  Society,  28. 

"  Annabel  Lee,"    first  mention  of,  304. 

"  Arcturus,"    poem  addressed  by  Mrs.  Whitman  to  Poe,  284. 

Arnold,  Elizabeth,  mother  of  the  poet.      See  Poe,  Mrs.  Elizabeth. 

Arthur,  T.  S.,  assumes  control    of  "  The  Saturday  Visiter,"    99. 

Aylette,  Patrick  Henry,  writes  for  Richmond    "Examiner,"  317. 

"BALLOON  HOAX,"   the,  published,  193. 

Barrett,    Elizabeth    (Mrs.    Browning),   admires    "The  Raven," 


Bartlett,  Hon.  John  R.,  Poe  visits,  245. 

Beale,  Upton,  companion  of  Poe  at  University  of  Virginia,  41. 
Bedloe,  Augustus,  Poe  makes  the  acquaintance  of,  64. 
"  Bells,  The,"   occasion  of  its  production,  286. 
Bernard,  P.  D.,  receives  letter  from  Poe  in  relation  to  establishing 

new  magazine,  178. 
Bisco,  John,  connection  of,  with  the   "  Broadway  Journal,"    210  ; 

sells  the   "Journal  "  to  Poe,  212. 

1  The  Appendix  is  indexed  separately  ;   see  page  427. 



Blaettermann,  professor  at  University  of  Virginia,  40,  45,  46,  54. 

Bliss,  Elam,  publishes  Poe's  third  volume  of  poems,  92. 

Botta,  Mrs.  (Miss  Anne   Charlotte  Lynch),  Memoirs  of,  reviewed 

by  R.  H.  Stoddard,  241  5   salon  of,  241-245. 
Bransby,  Dr.,  Poe's  teacher  at  Stoke-Newington,  19. 
Brennan,  Patrick,    "The  Raven"   written  at  the  house  of,  224. 
Brennan,  Mrs.    Patrick,  denies  charges  of  Poe's   dissipation,  224, 

et  seq. 

Brennan,  Thomas  S.,  224. 
Briggs,  Charles   F. ,    criticisms    and    insinuations   of,   201  5   sharply 

criticised  by  Poe,  210  ;   excluded  from  management  of  "  Broad 
way  Journal , "    212. 

Broad-street  Theatre,  Richmond,  burned,  1 1 . 
"  Broadway  Journal,"    Poe    acquires  control  of,   210  ;  collapse  of, 


Brooks,  N.  C.,  unable  to  procure  an  usher's  place  for  Poe,  96. 
Browne,  Dr.  William   Hand,    227,    note  ,•   note  from,    concerning 

Poe's  death,  327. 

Browning,  Robert,  admires    "The  Raven,"    214. 
Bryant,  William  C.,  at  Mrs.  Botta' s  salon,  244. 
Buchanan,  Rev.  John,  baptizes  Edgar  and  Rose  Poe,  23. 
Burke,  William,  Poe's  schoolmaster,  25. 
Burton,  William  E.,  requests  Graham   to  buy    "The  Gentleman's 

Magazine,"    1395   criticised  by  Poe,  128. 
Burwell,  William  M.,  gives   account  of  Poe's  career  at  University 

of  Virginia,  39,  41,  47. 

CABELL,  ROBERT  G.,  accompanies  Poe  in  a  swim  down  the  James 

River,  25  ;   close  friend  of  Poe,  28. 
Calhoun,  John  C.,  leader  of  State  Rights  politics,  317. 
Campbell,  John,  assists   Poe  in  obtaining  admission  to  West  Point, 


Carlyle,  Thomas,  unseals  the  fountains  of  German  ideology,  romance, 
and  poetry,  153. 

Carter,  Dr.  Gibbon,  spends  day  in  Richmond  with  the  poet,  326. 

Carter,  Dr.  John,  Poe  spends  last  evening  in  Richmond  in  office 
of,  326. 

Childs,  George  W.,  purchases  "Ledger"  and  "Dollar  Maga 
zine,"  and  changes  name  to  the  "  Home  Weekly  and  House 
hold  Newspaper,"  140. 

Chivers,  Dr.  Thomas  Holley,  writes  friendly  letter  to  Poe,  1905 
writes  of  German  "criticism,"  192. 

Clarke  and  Burke,  teachers  of  Poe,   19,  54. 

INDEX.  413 

Clarke,  T.  Cottrell,  gives  pen-picture  of  Poe's  home-life  in  Phila 
delphia,  138. 

Clay,  Cassius,  a  visitor  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  245. 

Cleef,  Augustus  van,  writes  an  article  in  "  Harper's"  on  Poe's 
"  Mary,"  96. 

Clemm,  Mrs.  (Poe's  mother-in-law),  gives  account  of  her  ances 
try,  45  testifies  to  Poe's  temperance,  161  ;  praised  by  N.  P. 
Willis,  204  ;  sketch  of,  by  Miss  Amelia  F.  Poe,  206  j  be 
friended  by  the  Richmonds,  301  ;  parting  of,  from  Poe,  306  5 
suffering  "for  the  necessaries  of  life,"  325  ;  grief  of,  upon  poet's 
death,  338  ;  dies  in  Baltimore,  339. 

Clemm,  Rev.  W.  T.  D.,  reads  burial  service  at  Poe's  funeral,  336, 


Clemm,  Virginia,  carries  letters  between  the  lovers  (Poe  and 
"Mary"),  975  marries  Poe,  1145  ruptures  a  blood-vessel 
while  singing,  180,  185  ;  her  death,  265  5  burial-place  of,  268. 

Clemm,  William,  stepfather  of  the  poet's  wife,  in. 

Cloud,  C.  F.,  establishes   "The  Saturday  Visiter,"    99. 

"  Conchologist,  The,"    published  by  Poe,   146. 

Converse,  Rev.  Amasa,  marries  Poe  and  Virginia  Clemm,  115. 

Creighton,  William  A.,  companion  of  Poe  at  University  of  Vir 
ginia,  41. 

Cullum,  Gen.,  criticises  Poe's  third  volume,  93. 

Curtis,  George  W.,  welcomes  Mrs.  Whitman's  poems,  283. 

DANIEL,  JOHN    M.,  writes  reminiscence    of   Poe,    247  ;  editor  of 

Richmond    "Examiner,"    317. 
Davidson,  James  Wood,   letter  of  J.  R.  Thompson  to,  concerning 

Poe,  300. 

Davis,  Dr.  Hugh  Wythe,  gives  interesting  glimpse  of  Poe,  27. 
Davis,  N.  K.,  professor  at  University  of  Virginia,  52. 
Dawes,  Rufus,  editor,  reviews   "  Al  Aaraaf"    unfavorably,  76. 
De  Hart,  John,  grandfather  of  Mrs.  Louisa  Gabriella  Allan,  77. 
Dickens,  Charles,  startled  by  Poe's  power,   172;   character  in  one 

of  his  famous  novels  suggested  by  Mrs.  Helen  Whitman,  292. 
Didier,  E.  L.,  gives  account  of  publication  of  "  Al  Aaraaf,"    75  ; 

"  Life  and  Poems  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe,"    244. 
Distinguished   men,  list   of,  graduated  from  University  of  Virginia, 

"  Dollar  Magazine  "   awards  prize  to  Poe  for   "  The  Gold-Bug," 


Drayton,  Col.  William,  work  dedicated  to,  by  Poe,  148. 
Drum,  Adjutant-General,  verifies  fact  of  Poe's  enlistment,  69. 


EATON,  MAJOR  JOHN,  U.  S.  Secretary  of  War,  79. 

Ellet,  Mrs.,  a  visitor  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  245. 

Ellis,   Powhatan,  senator  from    Mississippi,  appointment  of  Poe  to 

West  Point,  due  to,  79. 

Ellis,  Col.  T.  H.,  furnishes  sketch  of  Poe's  boyhood,  22—27. 
Embury,  Mrs.,  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  244. 
E  -  ,  Mrs.,  meddles  in  Poe's  private  affairs,  296  ;   trouble  of  Poe 

with  family  of,  297. 
English,  Thomas   Dunn,  issues  final  number  of  "  Broadway  Jour 

nal,"    240  ;  engaged  in  libel  suit  with  Poe,  252. 
"  Eureka,"    production  of,  274. 

Everett,  Edward,  on  Jefferson's  educational  views,  38. 
"  Examiner,"   the  Richmond,  organ  of  the  State  Rights  politics, 

FERGUSSON,  JOHN  W  .,  corrects  proofs  for    "Messenger,"    127. 
Fitzgerald,    Bishop,    sketches    Poe's    personal  appearance  in   1849, 


Francis,  Dr.  J.  W.,  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  244. 
Fuller,  Margaret  (Countess  Ossoli),  has  controversy  with  Poe,  245  ; 

remonstrates  with  Poe,  296,  297. 

GALT,    WILLIAM,   leaves    fortune   to  John  Allan,    165  successful 

merchant,  23. 

"  Gentleman's  Magazine,"    Poe  becomes  assistant  editor  of,  148. 
George,  Miles,  roommate  of  Poe  at  University  of  Virginia,  39,41. 
German  philosophy,  metaphysics,  and  medievalism,  spirit  of,  spreads 

over  the  English  and  American  mind,  153. 
Gholson,  Judge    Thomas   S.,  constant  companion   of  Poe  at  Uni 

versity  of  Virginia,  41. 

Gibson,  T.  H.,  writes  of  Poe  at  West  Point,  85-92. 
Gildersleeve,  Prof.  B.  C.,  writes  of  Poe's  personality,  315. 
Gill,  W.  F.,  statement  of,  regarding   David  Poe's  death,  10  ;  de 

scribes  Poe's  residence  in  Philadelphia,   135  ;  receives  letter  from 

Mrs.  Sarah  Whitman  in  relation  to  Poe,  293. 
Gillespie,  W.  M.,  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  244- 
Gove,  Mrs.,  finds  the    Poes   living   in  great    wretchedness,  261  ; 

gives  pathetic  glimpse  of  the  Poe  family,  261. 
Gowans,  William,  testifies   to  Poe's  sobriety  while   in  New  York, 

Graham,  George  R.,  the  good  angel  of  Poe's  life,  138  ;   testifies  to 

Poe's  solicitude  for  the  happiness  of  his  wife  and  mother-in-law, 


INDEX.  415 

"  Graham's  Magazine,"  its  influence  on  American  letters,  139; 
remarkable  contributors  to,  141. 

Greeley,  Horace,  writes  to  Griswold  of  Poe's  contemplated  mar 
riage  with  Mrs.  Whitman,  289. 

Green,   J.    B.,    furnishes   recollections  of  Mrs.   Mary  O.  Moran, 


Greenhow,  James,  appears  in  dramatic  representation  with  Poe,  25. 

Griswold,  Capt.,  in  regiment  with  Poe,  71. 

Griswold,  Dr.  Rufus  Wilmot,  statement  of,  in  relation  to  prize  won 
by  Poe,  refuted  by  J.  H.  B.  Latrobe,  105  ;  statement  of,  in  re 
gard  to  Poe's  clothing,  a  sheer  fabrication,  109  5  pays  tribute  to 
the  beauty  of  the  Poes'  home  in  Philadelphia,  135,  137;  the 
evil  angel  of  Poe's  life,  1385  becomes  editor  of  "Graham's 
Magazine,"  1405  biography  of,  1425  writes  concerning  Poe's 
severance  of  connection  with  "Graham's,"  176-  dismissed  by 
Graham  from  editorship  of  the  magazine,  177  ;  introduces  R. 
H.  Stoddard  into  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  241  ;  a  rival  of  Poe  in  the 
affections  of  Mrs.  Osgood,  244 ;  contrasted  with  Poe,  250, 
251  $  receives  letter  from  Horace  Greeley  in  relation  to  Poe's 
marriage  with  Mrs.  Whitman,  289  ;  scandalous  anecdote  related 
by,  denied  by  Mrs.  Whitman,  294  ;  accepts  proposal  to  become 
Poe's  literary  executor,  323. 

Gwynn,  William,  editor,  becomes  acquainted  with  Poe,  73  ;  shows 
manuscript  of  "  Al  Aaraaf"  to  Latrobe,  106. 

HALE,  REV.  EDWARD  EVERETT,  describes  Lyceum  system  of  lectur 
ing,  275. 

Halleck,  Fitz-Greene,  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  244,  245. 

Halsey,  F.  R.,  pays  $2,550  for  a  copy  of  Poe's  first  volume,  67. 

Hannay,  James,  denies  Poe's  sense  of  humor,  258  ;  reviews  his 
mental  characteristics,  258,  et  seq. 

Harris,  A.  B.,  writes  of  sickness  of  Poe's  wife,  185. 

Hart,  Mr.,  the  sculptor,  a  visitor  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  245. 

Hatch,  Mrs.  John  P.  (Miss  Adelaide  Burkle ),  owner  of  autograph 
letter  from  Poe,  220. 

Haven,  Benny,  88,  et  seq. 

Hawkes,  Dr.  F.  L.,  invites  Poe  to  New  York,  133. 

Hawthorne,  Nathaniel,  publishes  "The  Unpardonable  Sin"  in 
"Home  Weekly  and  Household  Newspaper,"  140. 

Headley, ,  a  visitor  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  245. 

Heath,  James  E.,  editor  of  "  Southern  Literary  Messenger,"  126, 

Herring,  Henry,  takes  charge  of  Poe's  remains,  336. 



Hewitt,  John  H.,  editor,  reviews  "  Al  Aaraaf"  unfavorably,  76  5 
wins  second  prize  in  literary  contest,  106. 

Hewitt,  Mrs.  M.  E.,  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  244  5  describes  suf 
fering  condition  of  Poe's  family,  260. 

Higginson,  Col.  T.  W.,  bears  testimony  to  the  beauty  of  Poe's 
voice,  97. 

Hirst,  biographer  of  Poe,  96. 

Hodges,  Dr.,  rector  of  St.  Paul's  parish,  115. 

Holmes,  Oliver  Wendell,  writes  to  Griswold  in  behalf  of  Poe,  261. 

Hopkins,  C.  D.,  first  husband  of  Mrs.  Elizabeth  (Arnold)  Poe,  6. 

Home,  Richard  Hengist,  criticises  "  Annabel  Lee,"  305. 

House,  Col.  James,  in  regiment  with  Poe,  71. 

Howard,  Lieut.,  in  regiment  with  Poe,  71. 

Howard,    "  Nat,"   a  distinguished  Latinist,  schoolmate  of  Poe,  20. 

Hoyt,  Ralph,  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  244. 

Hughes,  Robert  W.,  discusses  economic  questions  in  Richmond 
"  Examiner,"  317. 

Hunt,  Freeman,  a  visitor  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  245. 

INGRAM,  JOHN  H.,  testimony  of,  in  relation  to  Poe's  ancestry,  3  ; 
describes  origin  of  "  The  Bells,"  286  5  "writes  the  best  biography 
of  Poe,  338. 

Irving,  Washington,  editor  of  "Knickerbocker,"  141  ;  acknowl 
edges  Poe's  genius,  155. 

Isbell,  George   E.,  letter  of  Poe   to,  relating  to   "Eureka,"    277. 

JEFFERSON,  THOMAS,  founds  the  University  of  Virginia,  34  j  at 
tempts  to  stop  card-playing  at  the  University,  43  5  considers  an 
outside  police  necessary  at  University,  51  5  contends  that  geog 
raphy  and  history  should  be  studied  together,  54,  555  death  of, 
1826,  56. 

Johns,  Rev.  John,  reported  to  have  married  Poe  and  Miss  Clemm, 

KENNEDY,  JOHN  P.,  letter  to,  from  Poe,  I  j  on  committee  to 
award  prizes  for  poem  and  story  for  "  Saturday  Visiter,"  99  ; 
invites  Poe  to  dinner,  no;  aids  Poe  in  securing  position  on 
"Southern  Literary  Messenger,"  116. 

Kirkland,  Mrs.,  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  244,  245. 

LAFAYETTE  visits  Richmond  and  Jefferson  in  1824,  55. 

Lang,  Andrew,  writes  of  Poe's  prose  romances,  152. 

Latrobe,  J.  H.  B.,  on  committee    to  award   prizes  for  story   and 

INDEX.  417 

poem  for  "The  Saturday  Visiter,"  99  5  his  account  of  the  con 
test,  99,  102-110;  kind  to  Poe,  no. 

Lee,  Gen.  Robert  E.,  84. 

Lee,  Hon.  Z.  Collins,  present  at  Poe's  burial,  337. 

Leland,  Charles  Godfrey,  editor  of  "  Graham's  Magazine,"    141. 

Lewis,  Mrs.  S.  D.      See  Robinson,  Miss. 

Lincoln,  Robert  T.,  verifies  fact  of  Poe's  enlistment,  69. 

Literati  of  New  York,  Poe's  opinion  of,  249,  250. 

Livingston,  Catherine,  grandmother  of  Mrs.  Louisa  Gabriella  Al 
lan,  77. 

Locke,  Joe,  satirized  by  Poe,  87. 

Locke,  Richard  Adams,  editor  of  New  York  "  Sun,"  1935  a 
visitor  at  the  salon  of  Mrs.  Botta,  245. 

Long,  George,  literary  career  of,  38  ;  professor  at  University  of 
Virginia,  40,  44. 

Longfellow,  Henry  Wadsworth,  accused  of  plagiarism  by  Poe,  1465 
suggests  lines  from  "For  Annie  "  as  an  epitaph  for  Poe's  monu 
ment,  302. 

Lowell,  James  Russell,  error  of,  in  relation  to  Poe's  age,  3  ;  praises 
Poe's  stan/a  "To  Helen,"  31  ;  a  subordinate  editor  of  "  Gra 
ham's  Magazine,"  140;  eulogizes  Poe's  tales,  1445  publishes 
the  "Pioneer,"  175;  lauds  Poe's  genius,  202,  2035  de 
nounced  by  Poe  as  an  abolitionist,  202. 

Lowndes,  Adjutant-General,  in  regiment  with  Poe,  71. 

Lyceum  system  of  lecturing,  275. 

Lynch,  Miss  Anne  Charlotte.      See  Botta,  Mrs. 

MACKENZIE,  DR.,  with  Poe  on  his  last  day  in  Richmond,  326. 

Mackenzie,  Mr.,  cares  for  the  Poe  children,  n. 

McBride,  Jane,  wife  of  John  Poe,  4. 

Mclntosh,  Maria,  gives  Poe  letter  of  introduction  to  Mrs.  Whit 
man,  285. 

McMurtrie,  Prof.,  joint  author  with  Poe  of  "  Conchologist's  Text- 
Book,"  147. 

Madison,  James,  ex-President,  80. 

Magruder,  John  B.,  classmate  of  Poe  at  West  Point,  69. 

Manley,  Mrs.,  takes  lock  from  Poe's  chamber  door  as  souvenir,  227. 

Marshall,  Chief-Justice,  80. 

"  Mary,"    Poe's  sweetheart,  97,  98. 

Matthews,  drill-master  at  University  of  Virginia,  39. 

Maury,  Mathew  F.,  editor  of  "  Southern  Literary  Messenger," 

Mayo,  Col.  John,  uncle  of  Mrs.  Louisa  Gabriella  Allan,  78. 

VOL.  I. —  27 

418  INDEX. 

Miller,  Dr.  James  H.,  on  committee  to  award  prizes  for  story  and 
poem  for  "  The  Saturday  Visiter,"  99  ;  kind  to  Poe,  no. 

Minor,  Dr.  B.  B.,  writes  notice  of  Thomas  W.  White,  125  ; 
gives  reminiscences  of  Poe  to  author  of  this  book,  220. 

Minor,  Lucian,  editor  of  "Southern  Literary  Messenger,"    1*7. 

Monroe,  James,  ex-President,  80. 

Montague,  Mrs.  Dwight,  78. 

"Moon  Hoax,"   the,  195. 

Moran,  Dr.  J.  J.,  testifies  to  Poe's  temperance,  162 ;  receives  com 
munication  from  Mrs.  Shelton  regarding  her  relations  with  Poe, 
314  ;  gives  account  of  the  poet's  last  hours,  332,  et  seq. 

Moran,  Mrs.  Mary  O.,  reminiscences  of,  337. 

Morgan,  Appleton,  writes  of  Poe's  character  and  habits,  161,  162$ 
defends  Poe  against  charge  of  reselling  his  manuscripts,  260. 

Morris,  George  P.,  criticised  by  Poe,  189  ;  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon, 

Mott,  Dr.,  diagnoses  Poe's  case,  269. 

NEAL,  JOHN,  corresponds  with  Poe,  73,  76. 
Nelson,  Robert  B.,  writes  concerning  Poe's  marriage,  115. 
Newman,    Cardinal,   imitates    Poe   in  his  famous  "Lead,  Kindly 
Light,"   68. 

O'BEIRNE,  GEN.  JAMES  R.,  describes  Poe's  residence  at  the  home 
of  Patrick  Brennan,  224. 

Osgood,  Mrs.  Frances  Sargent,  testifies  to  Poe's  love  for  his  wife, 
184;  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  243;  a  paragon,  243;  her  death, 
2445  defends  the  poet,  295,  2975  pens  self-contradictory  com 
munication  to  Griswold,  298. 

PABODIE,  WILLIAM   J.,    contradicts   scandalous    anecdote    told  by 

Griswold,  294. 
Patterson,  E.  H.  W.,  arranges  with  Poe  to  publish  "The  Stylus," 

Patterson,  Capt.  John,  grandfather  of  Mrs.  Louisa  Gabriella  Allan, 


Patterson,  John  William,  father  of  Mrs.  Louisa  Gabriella  Allan,  77. 
Patterson,  Mrs.  Louisa  De  Hart,  mother  of  Mrs.  Louisa  Gabriella 

Allan,  77. 
Patterson,  Miss    Louisa  Gabriella,   marries    Mr.  John  Allan,  77  ; 

her  character,  78. 
Perry,  Edgar  A.,  name  assumed  by  Poe  on  enlisting  in  U.  S.  Army, 

69,  70. 



Peterson,  Charles  J.,  edits  fl  Graham's  Magazine,"    140. 
Petticolas,   Arthur    E.,  contribution  to    Richmond  "  Examiner," 


Philadelphia,  intellectual  atmosphere  of,  in  the  thirties  and  forties, 

Poe,  Miss  Amelia  F.,  furnishes  sketch  of  Mrs.  Clemm,  206. 

Poe,  Gen.  David,  the  poet's  grandfather,  a  veteran  of  the  Revolu 
tion,  4. 

Poe,  David,  father  of  the  poet,  4 ;  marries  Mrs.  C.  D.  Hopkins, 
6;  becomes  a  strolling  player,  6  ;  death  of,  10. 

Poe,  Edgar  Allan,  writes  letter  to  J.  P.  Kennedy,  I  ;  precocity  of, 
compared  to  that  of  Shelley,  Heine,  Keats,  and  Hugo,  2  ;  states 
that  he  w?s  born  in  Boston,  2  ;  discussion  in  relation  to  his 
birthplace,  3  5  rails  at  Boston,  3  5  his  ancestry,  4,  5  j  birth  in 
Boston,  6  ;  his  birth  year  coincident  with  that  of  many  eminent 
persons,  8  ;  death  of  his  parents,  10  5  adopted  by  Mr.  John 
Allan,  12;  atmosphere  of  his  childhood,  13;  leaves  home  for 
the  University,  16;  goes  to  school  in  England,  17;  influence 
of  his  training  there,  17-20;  psychological  effect  on  his  tem 
perament  of  long  sea-voyages,  20,  21  ;  boyhood  of,  sketched  by 
Col.  T.  H.  Ellis,  22-27  5  entered  as  a  student  at  the  University 
of  Virginia,  26  ;  interesting  glimpses  of,  while  in  the  University, 
25-34  ;  love  episode  with  Miss  Sarah  Elmira  Royster,  32,  33  ; 
prepares  to  enter  the  University  of  Virginia,  34  ;  joins  the  Uni 
versity,  36  ;  associates  at  the  University,  37  ;  social  habits  and 
scholarship,  40  ;  his  constant  companions,  41  ;  reads  his  literary 
productions  to  friends,  42;  nicknamed  "  Gaffy  "  Poe,  43; 
escapades,  44;  his  proficiency  in  Italian,  45,  46;  leaves  the 
University,  47  ;  extraordinary  powers  of  analysis,  48  ;  his  intro 
duction  to  Latin  and  Greek,  54  ;  his  penchant  for  geography,  54  ; 
his  penchant  for  moon-hoaxes  and  lunar  voyages,  55  ;  his  fond 
ness  for  French  and  France,  55  ;  not  indifferent  to  the  advantages 
of  debate,  60  ;  his  university  career  crowned  with  scholastic  hon 
ors,  62  ;  little  or  no  moral  training,  62  ;  the  gift  of  poesy  his 
one  solace,  63  ;  his  early  poems,  64  ;  had  contracted  debts  at  the 
University,  65  ;  leaves  the  Allan  home,  65  ;  appearance  at  Bos 
ton  of  "Tamerlane  and  Other  Poems,"  65  ;  the  first  of  his 
defiant  prefaces,  68  ;  enlists  in  U.  S.  Army,  70  ;  promoted  ser 
geant-major,  70;  returns  to  Richmond,  70;  honorably  discharged 
from  the  service,  72  ;  influence  of  army  routine,  72 ;  publishes 
"  Al  Aaraaf,"  75  ;  writes  to  Neal  in  relation  to  "  Al  Aaraaf," 
76  ;  enters  the  Academy  at  West  Point,  79  ;  the  atmosphere  of 
West  Point,  80  ;  chafes  under  the  discipline  at  West  Point,  84  j 

420  INDEX. 

contrast  to  his  honorable  career  as  a  U.  S.  soldier,  85  ;  account  of 
his  life  at  West  Point  by  T.  H.  Gibson  in  "  Harper's  Maga 
zine,"  85-92;  court-marti ailed  and  dismissed  from  the  Academy, 
92.;  publishes  a  third  volume  of  poems,  92;  contents  of  the 
volume,  93  ;  obscurity  in  his  biography  from  1831—1836,  96  ; 
seeks  employment  from  William  Gwynn,  a  Baltimore  editor,  96  ; 
unable  to  secure  an  usher's  place  in  Brooks's  school,  96  ;  love 
episode  with  "Mary,"  97,  98;  competes  for  a  prize  story 
and  poem  for  "The  Baltimore  Visiter,"  98—110;  winning  the 
prize  surrounds  him  with  a  blaze  of  publicity,  101  ;  becomes  the 
talk  of  the  town,  110;  rupture  with  the  Allans,  in  ;  death 
blow  to  his  hopes  of  becoming  Allan's  heir,  1 1 1  ;  Mrs.  Allan's 
niece  relates  story  of  the  rupture  with  the  Allans,  111-113  ; 
issues  the  prospectus  of  a  first-class  literary  journal,  113;  licensed 
to  marry  Virginia  Clemm,  114;  a  second  license  procured,  and 
ceremony  performed  by  Rev.  Amasa  Converse,  115;  becomes 
editor  of  the  "  Southern  Literary  Messenger,"  116;  sends  tales 
to  "  Messenger,"  1 16  ;  sends  tales  to  Miss  Leslie  for  "Souvenir," 
117  ;  his  income  and  reputation  increasing,  117  ;  receives  warn 
ing  note  from  White,  117;  suffers  from  depression  of  spirits, 
Ii8;  his  gratitude  to  Kennedy,  118;  variety  and  multiplicity 
of  his  work,  118;  the  evil  habit  of  borrowing  grows  upon 
him,  119;  retires  from  editorship  of  "Messenger,"  120; 
cause  of  the  rupture  between  Poe  and  White,  121  ;  his  contri 
butions  to  the  "Messenger,"  121—123  ;  addicted  to  drugs  and 
stimulants,  123;  his  case  never  scientifically  diagnosed,  124; 
his  position  on  the  "Messenger"  not  a  bed  of  roses,  124  ;  re 
moves  to  New  York,  128;  testimony  to  his  sobriety  at  this 
time,  128;  carefully  trained  his  wife,  129;  Mrs.  Clemm  testi 
fies  to  his  domesticity,  129  ;  his  fable-autobiographies,  130—132  ; 
completes  "The  Narrative  of  Arthur  Gordon  Pym,"  133; 
removes  to  Philadelphia,  133  ;  pleasing  glimpses  of  his  domestic 
life,  134-138;  contributes  to  "  Graham's  Magazine,"  139;  a 
quarrel  leads  to  his  dismissal,  139  ;  wins  prize  with  "The  Gold- 
Bug"  from  "Dollar  Magazine,"  140;  his  "Descent  into 
Maelstrom"  and  "Murders  in  the  Rue  Morgue  "  appear  in 
"  Graham's  Magazine,"  140,  141  ;  declines  to  review  Irving, 
143;  contributes  u  Ligeia "  and  other  tales  to  "American 
Museum,"  143,  144  ;  eulogized  by  Lowell,  144  ;  list  of  his 
contributions  to  various  magazines,  145  ;  accuses  Longfellow  of 
plagiarism,  146;  publishes  "The  Conchologist "  and  "Tales 
of  the  Grotesque  and  Arabesque,"  146,  147  ;  becomes  associate 
editor  of  "  Gentleman's  Magazine  and  American  Monthly  Re- 

INDEX.  421 

view,"  148  ;  dedicates  volume  to  Col.  William  Drayton,  148  ; 
types  and  characteristics  of  his  works,  148,  149  ;  amount  of 
work  accomplished,  149  ;  title-page,  preface,  and  dedication  to 
11  Tales  of  the  Grotesque  and  Arabesque,"  149-152  j  becomes 
inoculated  with  the  spirit  of  German  occultism,  154;  towers 
among  his  contemporaries  as  a  giant,  155;  Irving  acknowledges 
his  genius,  155  ;  believes  himself  to  be  a  great  critic,  155  ;  ap 
pointed  editor  of  the  "Gentleman's  Magazine,"  156;  re 
prints  some  of  his  poems  in  the  magazine,  156;  announces 
publication  of  new  magazine,  157  ;  quarrel  with  Burton,  157—161 ; 
letter  to  Dr.  J.  E.  Snodgrass,  describing  his  habits  at  Richmond 
and  Philadelphia,  158-161  5  Dr.  J.  J.  Moran  testifies  to  his 
temperance,  162;  writes  letter  to  Burton,  163-167;  expresses 
his  opinion  of  Mr.  Graham,  168  ;  writes  good-natured  criticism 
of  Burton,  168  ;  "  Penn  Monthly"  scheme  fails,  1685  in 
fluence  of  his  contributions  to  "  Graham's  "  on  contemporary 
literature,  169;  his  cryptographic  studies,  169-171  ;  great  liter 
ary  industry,  172;  his  power  startles  Dickens,  172;  develops  a 
strange  power  of  analytical  reasoning,  173;  wonderfully  produc 
tive  period  of  his  stay  in  Philadelphia,  173,  174;  contributes  to 
Lowell's  "  Pioneer,"  175  ;  writes  courteous  letter  to  Lowell, 
176;  ceases  to  be  editor  of  "Graham's,"  176;  letter  in  re 
gard  to  establishing  a  new  magazine,  178;  seeks  a  government 
position,  179  ;  effect  on  his  mind  of  his  wife's  sickness  and 
death,  180  ;  susceptible  to  effect  of  intoxicating  liquors,  181  ; 
writes  to  Mrs.  Whitman  concerning  his  indulgence  in  stimulants, 
182;  Graham  testifies  to  his  solicitude  for  the  happiness  of  his 
wife  and  mother-in-law,  182  ;  the  worship  of  woman  an  ab 
sorbing  feature  in  his  life,  183  j  his  love  for  his  wife,  1845  son 
net  to  his  mother-in-law,  185  ;  caustic  excoriation  of  Griswold, 
1 86  ;  again  finds  himself  in  New  York,  186  ;  growth  of  his 
critical  instinct,  187,  et  seq.  ;  an  analyst  of  admirable  powers, 
189  5  receives  friendly  letter  from  Dr.  Thomas  Holley  Chivers, 
190;  his  literary  "  ripeness,"  193;  writes  the  "Balloon 
Hoax,"  195;  a  recondite  and  most  exquisite  humorist,  197; 
hoaxing  an  ingrained  element  of  his  intellectual  make-up,  198  ; 
his  places  of  residence  in  New  York,  198  ;  his  literary  labors  in 
1844,  199;  corresponds  with  Lowell,  200,  201;  denounces 
Lowell  as  an  abolition  fanatic,  202  ;  engagement  on  "  Evening 
Mirror,"  207  ;  his  opinion  of  N.  P.  Willis,  207,  208  5  the 
banner  year  of  his  literary  life,  209  ;  acquires  control  of  the 
"  Broadway  Journal,"  210  ;  sharp  criticism  of  Charles  F.  Briggs, 
210  j  accuses  Longfellow  of  plagiarism,  211  ;  leaves  the  "Mir- 

422  INDEX. 

ror,"  211  j  first  appearance  of  "The  Raven,"  213  ;  author 
criticises  it  under  pseudonym  of  "Quarles,"  214;  analyzes  the 
mechanism  of  his  poem,  215,  216  ;  its  genesis  and  evolution, 
2175  letter  to  John  Augustus  Shea,  218;  frequently  called 
upon  to  recite  "The  Raven,"  222  5  the  poem  written  in  New 
York,  224;  the  year  1845  "the  fullest  of  work,"  228  j  his 
own  opinion  of  his  prose  work,  229  ;  entangled  in  the  "  Long 
fellow  War,"  229,  et  seq.  ;  his  charges  of  plagiarism,  232— 
234;  numerous  contributions  to  the  magazines,  235,  236;  his 
war  on  transcendentalism,  236—238  ;  disappoints  a  Boston  au 
dience  in  his  readings,  237  ;  becomes  a  cult  with  the  French 
school  of  Theophile  Gautier,  2385  interest  excited  by  his  mes 
meric  hoax,  238  ;  dedicates  a  volume  of  poems  to  Elizabeth 
Barrett,  2395  collapse  of  the  "Broadway  Journal,"  240;  his 
social  and  literary  life  in  New  York,  241  ;  enamored  with 
Frances  S.  Osgood,  243  ;  has  controversy  with  Margaret  Fuller, 
245  5  the  year  1846  the  beginning  of  his  "  moral  and  physical 
descent,"  248  5  gives  his  opinion  of  the  literati  of  New  York, 
249,  250;  contrasted  with  Griswold,  250,  251  5  his  libel  suit 
against  Thomas  Dunn  English,  252;  his  home  at  Fordham, 
252,  et  seq.  ,•  his  mental  characteristics  reviewed  by  Hannay, 
258,  259  5  poverty  his  greatest  crime,  260  ;  suffering  condition 
of  his  family,  260,  et  seq.  ;  O.  W.  Holmes  writes  to  Griswold 
in  his  behalf,  261  j  Mrs.  Gove-Nichols  gives  pathetic  glimpse  of 
the  Poe  family,  261-263  j  addresses  passionate  lines  to  Mrs.  M. 
L.  Shew  (Mrs.  Houghton),  264;  death  of  Virginia  Poe,  265; 
agony  of  Poe's  utter  loneliness,  266  5  Mrs.  Clemm  watches 
over  him,  267  5  a  settled  gloom  threatens  his  reason,  267  ;  des 
perately  ill  and  unnerved,  269  ;  his  genius  recognized  abroad, 
272,  273  ;  reads  his  "  Eureka  "  to  a  small  audience,  2745  the 
book  published  by  Putnam,  276  ;  gives  analysis  of  the  work, 
277-279  5  compared  with  Lucretius,  279,  280  ;  his  passion  for 
Mrs.  Sarah  Helen  Whitman,  281,  et  seq.  ;  writes  poem  of 
"The  Bells,"  2865  engaged  to  Mrs.  Whitman,  290;  the 
marriage  broken  off,  29 1  ;  his  memory  defended  by  Mrs.  Whit 
man  and  Mrs.  Osgood,  294,  295  ;  has  personal  difficulty  with 
family  of  Mrs.  E ,  297 ;  visits  Richmond,  299  5  his  ac 
quaintance  with  Mrs.  S.  D.  Lewis  ("Stella"),  300,  et  seq.  ,- 
suffering  from  repeated  disappointments,  302  ;  writes  "  Annabel 
Lee,"  3045  last  glimpse  of  him  in  New  York,  305;  leaves 
for  Richmond,  306;  the  last  days  in  Richmond,  310,  et  seq.  ; 
renews  acquaintance  with  his  old  flame,  Miss  Royster,  313  ; 
reads  "The  Raven"  in  Richmond,  316;  arranges  to  become 

INDEX.  423 

literary  editor  of  "  Examiner,"  3185  takes  a  pledge  of  total 
abstinence,  318;  starts  for  Baltimore,  321;  cheerfulness  on 
leaving  Richmond,  322;  requests  Griswold  to  become  his  liter 
ary  executor,  323  ;  gives  Thompson  manuscript  of  "  Annabel 
Lee,"  3245  getting  ready  for  his  second  marriage,  325;  his 
last  day  in  Richmond,  3265  in  Baltimore,  327;  death,  328- 
336;  burial,  337;  manuscripts  left  at  his  death,  339. 

Poe,  Mrs.  Edgar  A.      See  Clemm,  Virginia. 

Poe,  Mrs.  Elizabeth  (Arnold,  Hopkins),  description  of,  5  j  theat 
rical  wanderings  of,  6,  8,  95  finds  her  best  friends  in  Boston, 
7;  decline  of,  95  death  of,  10  j  burial  of,  in  Richmond,  Va., 
II  ;  reference  to,  22,  23. 

Poe,  John,  progenitor  of  the  family  in  America,  4. 

Poe,  John  P.,  statement  of,  concerning  Poe's  ancestry,  3,  4. 

Poe,  Neilson,  opposes  marriage  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe  and  Virginia 
Clemm,  1145  takes  charge  of  Poe's  remains,  336. 

Poe,  Rosalie,  birth  of,  7  5  adopted  by  the  Mackenzies,  14. 

Poe,  William,  declares  "the  cup"  to  be  "a  great  enemy  to  the 
Poe  family,"  138. 

Poe,  William  Henry  Leonard,  birth  of,  7 ;  adopted  by  his  grand 
father,  22  ;  death,  23  ;  a  cadet  in  the  navy,  72. 

Pouder,  W.  P.,  connected  with   "The  Saturday  Visiter,"   99. 

Power,  Sarah  Helen.      See  Whitman,  Mrs.  Sarah  Helen. 

Preston,  Col.  J.  T.  L.,  places   Poe    on  a  high  level  as  a  scholar, 

20,  54. 

Preston,  James  P.,  aids  Poe  in  entering  West  Point,  79. 
Pryor,  Mrs.  W.  R.,  daughter  of  John  Allan,  2d,  78. 
Putnam,  G.  P.,  publishes  "Eureka,"   276. 

RANDOLPH,  JOHN,  of  Roanoke,  80. 

Randolph,  Col.  Thomas  Mann,  Governor  of  Virginia,  21. 

"Raven,  The,"   first  appearance  of,  213  ;  analyzed  by  Poe,  215, 

216;   its  genesis  and  evolution,  217. 

Richard,  John,  the  Poe  children  baptized  at  residence  of,  23. 
Richmond,  Va. ,  account  of,   12. 

Richmonds,  the,  befriend  Poe  and  Mrs.  Clemm,  301. 
Ripley,  George,  in  critical  chair  of  "  New  York  Tribune,"  242  ; 

warmly  welcomes  Mrs.  Whitman's  poems,  283. 
Ritchie,  William  F.,  appears  in  dramatic  representation  with  Poe, 

25  ;  member  of  the  Thespian  Society,  28 . 
Robinson,  Miss  (Mrs.  S.  D.  Lewis),  the   "Stella"   of  Poe,  tells 

of  her  acquaintance  with  him,  300;   Poe's  admiration  of,  3015 

writes  of  Poe's  last  day  in  New  York,  306. 

424  INDEX. 

Royster,  Miss  Sarah  Elmira  (Mrs.  Shelton),  engaged  to  Poe,  32, 
33;  renews  acquaintance  with  Poe,  313. 

SARTAIN,  JOHN,  denies  that  Poe  sold  his  poems  several  times,  288  j 

gives  glimpses  of  Poe's  last  days,  306..  et  seq. 
Scott,  Gen.  Winfield,  charges   on  a  ghost,   26 ;  assists    in    raising 

money  for  relief  of  Poe,  269. 
Sedgwick,  Miss,  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  244,  245. 
Selden  has  fight  with  Poe  at  Burke' s  school,  27. 
Seward,  Miss  M.  L.,  writes  of  poverty  in  Poe's  family,  260. 
Shea,  Judge  George,  possesses  letter    written  to   his  father  by  Poe 

concerning  "The    Raven,"    218;    his    personal    acquaintance 

with  Poe,  219. 
Shea,  John  Augustus,  letter  from  Poe   to,  218;  associates  at  West 

Point,  219. 

Shelton,  Mrs.      See  Royster,  Miss  Sarah  Elmira. 
Shew,  Mrs.  Marie  Louise  (Mrs.  Houghton),  96;  assists  the  Poes, 

264,  265  ;  inspires  Poe  to  write  "  The  Bells,"   286. 
Simms,  William  Gilmore,  at  Hingham,  Mass.,  243. 
Slaughter,  Philip,  companion  of  Poe  at  University  of  Virginia,  41. 
Smith,  Edmund,  present  at  Poe's  burial,  337. 
Smith,    Mrs.    Elizabeth    Oakes,    criticised  by  Poe,  189;  at  Mrs. 

Botta's  salon,  244. 

Smith,  F.  H.,  professor  at  University  of  Virginia,  44. 
Smith,  Mrs.  Seba,  a  visitor  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  245. 
Smyth,  A.  H.,  relates  story  of  "  Graham's  Magazine,"    139. 
Snodgrass,  Dr.  J.  E.,  acquires  control  of  "The  Saturday  Visiter," 

99  ;  letter  of  Poe  to,  describing  his  trouble  with  Burton,  158- 

161  ;  his  account  of  Poe's  death,  328  ;  present  at  Poe's  burial, 

Spencer,  Mr.,  writes  concerning  Poe's  death,  328,  et  seq. 
Stanard,  Mrs.  Jane   Stith,    Poe's  first    love,    305  death  of,  31; 

Poe's  devotion  to,  281. 
Stanard,  Monroe,  intimate  with  Poe,  28. 
Stanard,  Robert  C.,  accompanies  Poe  in  a  swim  down  James  River, 

Stephens,  Ann    S.,   edits  "  Graham's  Magazine,"    140;  at  Mrs. 

Botta's  salon,  244. 

Stevenson,  A.,  speaker  of  House  of  Representatives,  79. 
Stoddard,  Richard  Henry,  sketches  literary  celebrities  in  New  York 

in  1846,  241. 

Sroke-Newington,  residence  of  Poe  in,  17-19. 
Story,  W.,  hears  Poe  lecture,  211. 

INDEX.  425 

"  Stylus,"   the,  new  magazine  proposed  by  Poe,  275. 

"  Sun,"  the  New  York,  made  famous  by  Locke's  "  Moon  Hoax," 

and  Poe's   "Balloon  Hoax,"    195. 
"  Swan  Tavern,"    the,  in  Richmond,  where  Poe  put  up,  311. 

"  TAMERLANE  and  Other  Poems  "    appears  at  Boston,  65. 

Taylor,  Bayard,  editor  of  "  Graham's  Magazine,"    141. 

Tennyson  compared  with  Poe,  95. 

Thayer,  Col.,  of  West  Point,  satirized  by  Poe,  87. 

"  The  Magician,"    poem  by  Poe,  73. 

Thomas,  Calvin  F.  S.,  Poe's  first  publisher,  66. 

Thomas,  Dr.  Creed,  appears  in  dramatic  representation  with  Poe, 
25;  Poe's  desk-mate  at  Burke's  school,  27,  54;  member  of 
the  Thespian  Society,  28. 

Thomas,  F.  W.,  receives  letter  from  Poe,  2  j  fails  to  secure  a  gov 
ernment  position  for  Poe,  179. 

Thompson,  John  R.,  on  intimate  terms  with  Poe  at  Richmond, 
299;  writes  concerning  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Browning's  admiration  of 
Poe,  300;  receives  "  anything  Poe  might  send,"  3155  re 
ceives  manuscript  of  "  Annabel  Lee,"  324. 

Thornton,  Dr.  Philip,  unveils  a  ghost,  26. 

Ticknor,   George,   advocates  Jefferson's   reform    educational  views, 

38,  56. 

Tucker,  Beverley,  remembers  Poe's  mother  when  a  girl,  5. 

Tucker,  George,  professor  of  moral  philosophy  at  University  of  Vir 
ginia,  37. 

Tucker,  Judge  Henry  St.  George,  editor  of  "  Southern  Literary 
Messenger,"  127. 

Tucker,  T.  G.,  intimate   friend  of   Poe  at  University  of  Virginia, 

39,  42. 

UNIVERSITY  OF  VIRGINIA  founded  and  planned  by  Jefferson,  34  5 
scenery  surrounding  it,  35  ;  arrival  of  Poe  at,  36  ;  gambling  at, 
43>  4^>  5°j  dissipation  at,  49,  51  ;  outside  police  necessary  to 
preserve  order,  51,  52;  rules  and  regulations  gradually  increased, 
52;  improvements,  52;  student  life  at,  53,  54;  crucial  years 
in  its  history,  56  ;  graduates  remarkable  list  of  distinguished  men, 
57-60 ;  its  social  and  intellectual  environment,  60  ;  possesses 
unaddressed  letter  of  Poe,  270. 

VALENTINE,  Miss,  wife  of  John  Allan,  17. 

Valentine,  Miss  Anne,  rejects  the  suit  of  Mr.  Allan,  77. 



WALKER,  JOSEPH  W.,  sends  note  to  Dr.  Snodgrass  on  Poe's  distress, 

Ward,  Dr.  Thomas,  at  Mrs.  Botta's  salon,  244. 

Wat,  Dunn,  companion  of  Poe  at  University  of  Virginia,  41. 

Weiss,  Mrs.  Susan  Archer,  speaks  of  Poe's  last  days,  313  5  de 
scribes  Poe's  cheerfulness  on  leaving  Richmond,  322. 

Wertenbaker,  William,  librarian  of  University  of  Virginia,  37,  39, 

41,  45-47- 

West  Point,  Poe  enters,  79  ;  atmosphere  of,  80  5  list  of  contem 
poraries  of  Poe  at,  in  1830,  81-845  P°e  dismissed  from,  92. 

Whipple,  E.  P.,  writes  book  reviews  for  "  Graham's  Magazine," 

White,  Eliza,  visits  the  Clemms  and  Poes,  128. 

White,  Thomas  W.,  editor  and  proprietor  of  "  Southern  Literary 
Messenger,"  n6j  increases  Poe's  salary,  1175  sends  warning 
note  to  Poe,  1175  notice  of,  by  Dr.  B.  B.  Minor,  125. 

Whitman,  John  W.,  husband  of  Mrs.    Sarah  H.  Whitman,  282. 

Whitman,  Mrs.  Sarah  Helen,  connects  her  own  and  Poe's  ances 
try  with  the  Anglo-Norman  family  of  Le  Poer,  4 ;  gives  sketch 
of  Poe's  first  love  episode,  30  5  Poe's  statement  to,  concerning 
his  indulgence  in  stimulants,  1825  "  Introductory  Letter  "  of, 
to  "Life  and  Poems  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe,"  2445  describes 
Poe's  home  at  Fordham,  254,  et  seq.  ;  Poe's  passion  for,  281  ; 
poems  of,  282,  etseq.$  Horace  Greeley's  description  of,  289; 
her  engagement  to  Poe,  290;  the  engagement  broken,  291; 
effect  on  her  life  of  her  connection  with  the  poet,  292 ;  her 
story  suggests  a  character  in  one  of  Dickens's  novels,  292  ;  let 
ter  from,  to  W.  F.  Gill,  293. 

Willis,  Nathaniel  P.,  praises  Mrs.  Clemm,  204;  gives  his  impres 
sions  of  Poe,  207  5  Poe's  opinion  of,  207,  208  j  publishes  Poe's 
"Raven"  in  his  "Evening  Mirror,"  2135  at  Mrs.  Botta's 
salon,  242  j  one  of  the  few  editors  of  his  time  who  appreciated 
Poe,  271  ;  helps  Poe  in  his  project  of  establishing  a  new  maga 
zine,  275  ;  reprints  Poe's  lines  "  For  Annie,"  302. 

Wilmer,  L.  A.,  describes  origin  of  "The  Saturday  Visiter,"  99  ; 
frequent  companion  of  Poe  in  his  walks,  in. 

Woodberry,  Prof.  George  E.,  traces  out  the  wanderings  of  the  Ar 
nolds  and  Poes,  6  5  establishes  fact  of  Poe's  enlistment  in  U.  S. 
Army,  69,  70  5  gives  version  of  rupture  between  Poe  and  Low 
ell,  203. 

Wyatt,  Prof.,  joint  author  with  Poe  of  "  Conchologist's  Text- 
Book,"  147. 


ALLAN,  JOHN,  did  not  legally  adopt  Poe,  343 ;  Poe  brought  up  in 
the  family  of,  344,  3495  refuses  to  pay  Poe's  "debts  of  honor," 
345  ;  marries  Miss  Patterson,  a  relative  of  Gen.  Winfield  Scott, 

345,  35°- 

"  Annabel  Lee,"  Poe  presents  manuscript  of,  to  Griswold,  357. 
"Arthur  Gordon  Pym,"  353,  382. 
Autobiography  of  E.  A.  Poe,  343. 
' '  Autography, "  354. 

"BALTIMORE  Saturday  Visiter,  The,"  awards  prize  to  Poe  for  con 
tributions,  345. 

Barrett,  Elizabeth  B.,  speaks  of  Poe's  tales,  386. 
"Bells,  The,"  396. 
Bransby,  Rev.  Doctor,  Poe  attends  school  of,  at  Stoke  Newington, 

344,  350- 

British  journals,  no  trace  of  Poe's  contributions  to,  344. 
Browning,  Robert,  admiration  of  Poe  by,  386. 
Burton,  W.  E.,  Poe's  engagement  with,  346,  353. 

CARTER,  DR.  JOHN  F.,  mentioned  in  connection  with  Poe's  auto 
biography,  343. 

Channing,  W.  E.,  his  poems  alluded  to,  369. 

Clemm,  Mrs.  Maria,  her  Preface  to  the  Griswold  edition  of  Poe's 
works,  3475  letter  of,  to  N.  P.  Willis,  366. 

Collier,  Mr.,  letter  of,  alluded  to,  386. 

Colton,  Walter,  writes  to  Griswold  on  his  criticism  of  Poe,  348 . 

Cooke,  P.  Pendleton,  paper  of,  on  Poe,  383. 

"DESCENT  into  the  Maelstrom,  A,"  387. 

Dunglison,  Dr.,  president  of  University  of  Virginia,  345. 

"  EUREKA,"  353. 


"FALL  of  the  House  of  Usher,"  alluded  to  by  Griswold,  356  ;  by 

J.  R.  Lowell,  379. 
Fuller,  Margaret,  reviews  Poe's  first  volume  of  Poems  in   *'  New 

York  Tribune,"  351. 

GRAHAM,  GEORGE  R.,  defence  of  Poe  by,  399,  et  seq. 

"Graham's  Magazine,"  Poe  writes  for,  353. 

Griswold,  R.  W.,  Poe  furnishes  account  of  his  early  life  to,  343  5 
requested  by  Poe  to  be  his  literary  executor,  347  ;  writes  bio 
graphical  notice  of  Poe  for  "  New  York  Tribune,"  348  ;  Wal 
ter  Col  ton  to,  on  his  criticism  of  Poe,  348  5  his  obituary  notice 
of  Poe  mentioned  by  N.  P.  Willis,  360. 

Griswold,  Mrs.  Wm.  M.,  Poe's  manuscript  autobiography  in  pos 
session  of,  343. 

"  HANS  PHAAL,"  387. 

"Haunted  Palace,  The,"  380. 

Hawks,  Dr.,  invites  Poe  to  write  for  "  New  York  Review,"  346. 

"  Heart,  The  Tell-Tale,"  388. 

Henry,  Professor,  invites  Poe  to  write  for   "  New  York  Review," 

"  Home  Journal,  The,"  biographical  sketch  of  Poe  in,  347,  360. 

KENNEDY,  JOHN  P.,  on  committee  to  award  prizes  to  contributors 
to  "  Baltimore  Saturday  Visiter,"  345,  351. 

LAFAYETTE,  Gen.,  David  Poe  an  intimate  friend  of,  344,  34$  • 
Latrobe,  J.  H.  B.,  on  committee  to  award  prizes  to  contributors  to 

"Baltimore  Saturday  Visiter,"  345. 
"Lenore,"  381. 

Lewis,  Mr.,  of  Brooklyn,  assists  Poe,  354. 

Lewis,  Mrs.  Estelle  Anna,  requested  by  Poe  to  write  his  life,  347. 
"Ligeia,"  374,  388. 

Longfellow,  H.  W.,  tribute  of,  to  Poe,  398. 
Lowell,  James  Russell,  sketch  of  Poe,  347. 
"Ludwig  Article,  The,"  348. 

,  Admiral  JAMES,  daughter  of,  marries  John  Poe,  father  of 

Gen.  David  Poe,  344,  349. 
McBride,  Jane,  daughter  of  Admiral  James  McBride,  mother  of 

Gen.  David  Poe,  344,  349. 
"Marginalia,"  353. 


Middleton,   Henry,    American  consul  at  St.  Petersburg,   befriends 

Poe>  345>  35°. 
Miller,  Dr.  I.  H.,  on  committee  to  award  prizes  to  contributors  to 

"Baltimore  Saturday  Visiter,"  345. 
"  MS.  Found  in  a  Bottle,"  388. 

NEAL,  JOHN,  alluded  to,  374. 

"  New  York  Review,"  Poe  writes  for,  346. 

PATTERSON,  Miss,  marries  John  Allan,  345. 

Perry,  Edgar  A.,  assumed  name  of  Poe  in  U.  S.  army,  343. 

Poe,  Gen.  David,  service  of,  in  the  Revolution,  344,  349  5  an 
intimate  friend  of  Lafayette,  344. 

Poe,  Mrs.  David,  mother  of  the  poet,  died  of  pneumonia,  343. 

Poe,  Edgar  A.,  autobiography  of,  343  5  in  the  University  of  Vir 
ginia,  343,  345  5  no  trace  of  his  contribution  to  British  journals, 
344 ;  goes  to  school  to  Rev.  Doctor  Bransby  at  Stoke  Newing- 
ton,  England,  344,  350;  Mr.  John  Allan  refuses  to  pay  his 
"debts  of  honor,"  345  ;  desires  R.  W.  Griswold  to  be  his  lit 
erary  executor,  and  N.  P.  Willis  to  write  observations  upon  his 
life  and  character,  347  ;  attempts  to  join  revolutionary  army  in 
Greece,  345,  3505  visits  St.  Petersburg,  345,  3505  goes  to 
West  Point  as  a  cadet,  345,  350  ;  leaves  West  Point,  345,  350  5 
prints  a  small  volume  of  poems  in  1827,  350  5  conducts  "  Broad 
way  Journal,"  353;  writes  for  "Graham's  Magazine,"  353; 
publishes  volume  of  "Tales,"  3535  presents  manuscript  of 
"Annabel  Lee"  to  Griswold,  357;  N.  P.  Willis  on  death  of, 
360,  et  seq.  ,•  early  efforts  of,  compared  by  Willis,  with  those  of 
Shakspeare,  Milton,  Pope,  Collins,  Chatterton,  Kirke,  White, 
Southey,  Watts,  Coleridge,  Byron,  Wordsworth,  and  Cowley, 
371,  372;  P.  Peadleton  Cooke  on,  383;  obituary  memoir  of, 
by  John  R.  Thompson,  392  ;  tribute  of  Longfellow  to,  398  ; 
defence  of,  by  George  R.  Graham,  399,  et  seq. 

Poe,  Mrs.  Edgar  A.  (Virginia  Clemm),  death  of,  354. 

Poe,  John,  father  of  Gen.  David  Poe,  344,  349. 

"RAVEN,  THE,"  alluded  to  by  Griswold,  356  ;  observation  of  N. 
P.  Willis  on,  359;  praise  of,  by  P.  P.  Cooke,  384;  mention 

°f,  397- 
Redfield,  J.  S.,  publishes  Griswold's  edition  of  Poe' s  works,  347. 


"  Sketches  of  the  Literati  of  New  York,"  354. 


"  Southern  Literary  Messenger,"   Poe  invited  to  assume  editorship 

of,  345,  35*- 
Stoke  Newington,   Poe   attends  Rev.  Doctor  Bransby's  school  at, 

344,  35°- 
«  Stylus,  The,"  363. 

THOMPSON,  JOHN  R.,  obituary  memoir  of  Poe  by,  392. 
To  Helen,"  373. 
'To  One  in  Paradise,"  391. 
'Tribune,  New  York,"  biographical  notice  of  Poe  in,  348. 

<ULALUME,"  alluded  to,  363. 
'Universe,  The,"  subject  of  Poe' s  lecture,  364. 
University  of  Virginia,  Poe  enters,  343,  345,  350. 

"  VALDEMAR  Case,  The,"  386. 

WEBB,  Colonel,  collects  money  to  assist  Poe,  354. 

Weiss,  Mrs.  S.  A.,  mentioned  in  connection  with  Poe's  autobi 
ography,  343. 

White,  T.  W.,  writes  Poe  to  assume  editorship  of  "Southern  Lit 
erary  Messenger,"  345,  352. 

Willis,  N.  P.,  requested  by  Poe  to  write  observations  on  his  (Poe's) 
life  and  character,  347. 

OF  EDGAR   A.    POE. 

EXPLANATORY.  —  Titles  of  the  editions  of  collected 
poems  are  printed  in  ITALIC  CAPITALS;  titles  of 
the  editions  of  collected  tales,  in  ROMAN  CAPITALS; 
single  poems,  in  SMALL  CAPITALS;  single  tales,  in  italics; 
books  reviewed  by  Poe  are  "quoted";  essays,  miscella 
nies,  and  editorials  are  not  quoted;  newspapers  and  maga 
zines  are  printed  in  italics ;  B.  J.  means  Broadway  Journal, 
vols.  i.  and  ii. ;  S.  L.  M.  indicates  Southern  Literary  Mes 
senger ;  1827,  1829,  1831,  1833,  1840,  1843,  TS4S,  are  dates 
of  the  editions  of  collected  poems  and  tales. 


TONIAN.  Boston :  Calvin  F.  S.  Thomas.  1827. 
40  pp.  izmo.  Reprinted  in  London,  by  George  Redway, 
1884,  with  a  Preface  by  R.  H.  Shepherd. 


EMS.  By  EDGAR  A.  POE.  Baltimore:  Hatch  & 
Dunning.  1829.  71  pp.  8vo. 


POEMS.  By  EDGAR  A.  POE.  Second  Edition.  New 
York:  Published  by  Elam  Bliss.  1831  Though  the 
second  edition  of  AL  AARAAF,  most  of  the  poems  are 
here  published  for  the  first  time.  124  pp.  i2mo. 


,  I833 

/  MS.  Found  in  a  Bottle.     Baltimore  Saturday   Visiter,  Oct. 
"    12,  1833;   S.  L.  M.,    December  1835;    The   Gift,   1836, 
1840;  B.  J.,  ii.  14. 


List  of  Poe's  Tales,  Reviews,  etc.,  in  the  Southern  Literary 

William  Cullen  Bryant's  "Poems  "  (review),  January. 

Berenice  (tale),  March  1835,  1840;  B.  J.,  i.  14. 

Morella  (tale),  April  1835;  Burton's  Gentleman's  Magazine, 

November  1839,  1840;  B.  J.,  i.  25. 
HYMN  (in  "Morella"). 
"Confessions  of  a  Poet"  (review),  April. 
Some  Passages  in  the  Life  of  a  Lion:  Lionizing  (tale),  April 

1835,  1840,  1845;  B.  J.,  i.  ii. 

Featherstonhaugh's  "  I  Promessi  Sposi "  (review),  May. 
John    P.   Kennedy's    "Horse-Shoe    Robinson"    (review), 


"  Frances    Anne    (Kemble)    Butler's    Journal "    (review), 
t     May. 
TJu-  -Unparalleled  Adventure  of  One   Hans  Phaal  (tale), 

June  1835,  1840. 
R.  M.  Bird's  " 

The  Infidel,  or  the  Fall  of  Mexico"  (review), 

The  Crayon  Miscellany,  No.  II.  (review),  July.  (Poe  re 
viewed  No.  III.  of  this  series  in  the  December  number.) 

Theodore  Irving's  "  The  Conquest  of  Florida "  (review), 


The  Assignation  (The  Visionarv)  (tale),  July  1835,  1840; 
B.  J.,  i.  23. 

Notices  of  Foreign  Reviews  (review),  July. 

To  MARY,  July  1835;  To  ONE  DEPARTED,  Graham's  Mag 
azine,  1842 ;  Philadelphia  Saturday  Museum,  March  4, 
1843;  To  F »  B-  J-'  i-  T7- 

A  running  commentary  on  Current  Literary  Events,  called 
"  Critical  Notices  and  Literary  Intelligence,"  August. 

THE  COLISEUM.  Baltimore  Saturday  Visiter,  Southern  Lit 
erary  Messenger,  August ;  Philadelphia  Saturday  Evening 
Post,  June  12,  1841  ;  Philadelphia  Saturday  Museum, 
March  4,  1843;  Broadway  Journal,  ii.  i. 

Bon  Bon  (tale),  August  1835,  18405  B.  J.,  i.  16. 


Shadow:  A  Parable  (tale),  September  1835,  1840;  B.  J., 
i.  1 6. 

To  F s  O D.  Lines  written  in  an  Album.  Sep 

Loss  of  Breath  :  A  Tale  Neither  in  nor  Out  of  "  Blackwood" 
September  1835,  1840;  B.  J.,  ii.  26. 

King  Pest:     A    Talc   containing  an  Allegory,   September 

1835,  l84°;  B-  J-'  "•  J5- 

Mephistopheles  in  England  (review),  September. 
"  The  Classical  Family  Library,"  Nos.  xv.,  xvi.,  xvii.  (re 
view),  September. 
Robert  Southey's  "  The  Early  Naval  History  of  England  " 

(review),  September. 
"The  Gift"  (review),  September. 
"Scenes   from   an    Unpublished    Drama"  (Poe's   drama 

poem  POLITIAN),  December. 
E.  S.  Barrett's  "  The  Heroine ;  or  Adventures  of  Cheru- 

bini "  (review),  December. 
Lady    Dacre's   "  Tales   of   the    Peerage    and    Peasantry " 

(review),  December. 

"  The  Edinburgh  Review,"  No.  cxxiv.  (review),  December. 
Robinson's  Practice  (review),  December. 
R.  M.  Bird's  "The  Hawks  of  H^vk  Hollow"  (review), 

William  Maxwell's  "  A  Memoir  of  the  Reverend  John  H. 

Rice,  D.D."  (review),  December. 
"The  Crayon  Miscellany"  (review),  December. 
Walter  Anderson's  "  Oration  on  the  Life  and  Character  of 

the  Rev.  Joseph  Caldwell,  D.D."  (review),  December. 
Reynolds's  Francis  Glass's  "  A  Life  of  George  Washington 

in  Latin  Prose  "  (review),  December. 

Theodore  S.  Fay's  "Norman  Leslie"  (review),  December. 
Miss  Sedgwick's  "  The  Linwoods  "  (review),  December. 
William  Godwin's  "Lives  of  the  Necromancers"  (review), 

James  HalFs  "  Sketches  of  Life  and  Manners  in  the  West " 

(review),  December. 

"Clinton  Bradshaw"  (review),  December. 
"Nuts  to  Crack,"  etc.  (review),  December. 
Charles  Joseph  Latrobe's  "  The  Rambler  in  North  Amer 
ica"  (review),  December. 
Judge  Story's  "  Discourse  on  Chief- Justice  Marshall,"  Bin- 

ney's  "  Eulogium  "  (review),  December. 
Inaugural  Address  of  the  Rev.  D.  L.  Carroll,  D.D.  (review), 


VOL.  i.  —  2S 


E.  Stannard  Barrett's  "The  Heroine  "  (review),  December. 

Sarah  J.  Rale's  "Traits  of  American  Life"  (review),  De 

Lucian  Minor's  "An  Address  on  Education,"  etc.  (review), 

"Legends  of  a  Log  Cabin.  By  a  Western  Man."  (Re 
view.)  December. 

In  the  Southern  Literary  Messenger. 

"Zinzendorf  and  Other  Poems,"  by  Mrs.  L.  H.  Sigourney ; 

41  Poems,"  by  Miss  H.  F.  Gould  ;   "  Poems,"  Translated 

and  Original,  by  Mrs.  E.  F.  Ellet  (review),  January. 
Metzenger stein  (tale),  January  1836,  1840. 
W.  G.  Simms's  "  The  Partisan  :  A  Tale  of  the  Revolution  " 

(review),  January. 

"  The  Young  Wife's  Book  "  (review),  January. 
Miss  Sedgwick's  "  Tales  and  Sketches  "  (review),  January. 
Francis  Lieber's    "  Reminiscence  of  an   Intercourse  with 

M.  Niebuhr  the  Historian,"  etc.  (review),  January. 
SCENES  FROM  "  POLITIAN,"  January. 
"The  South-West  "  (review),  January. 
Defoe's  "  The  Life  and  Surprising  Adventures  of  Robinson 

Crusoe,"  etc.  (review),  January. 

Sarah  Stickney's  "  The  Poetry  of  Life  "  (review),  January. 
"  The  Christian  Florist  "  (review),  January. 
Morris  Matson's  "  Paul  Ulric,"  etc.  (review),  February. 
Peter  Mark  Roget's  "  Animal  and  Vegetable  Physiology " 

(review),  February. 
Joseph  Martin's  "A  New  and  Comprehensive  Gazetteer  of 

Virginia"  (review),  February. 
Lieut.    Slidell's   "  The    American  in   England "    (review), 

Bulwer's  "  Rienzi,  The  Last  of  the  Tribunes"    (review), 


Henry  F.  Chorley's  "  Conti  the  Discarded  "  (review),  Feb 
L.  A.  Wilmer's  "  The  Confession  of  Emilia  Harrington " 

(review),  February. 
"  Rose  Hill"  (review),  February. 
Palaestine  (essay),  February. 
"  Noble  Deeds  of  Woman     (review),  February. 
A  Chapter  on  Autography  (essay),  February  and  August. 


The  Due  de  L' Omelette  (tale),  February  1836,  1840;  B.  J., 

ii.  14. 
"  Contributions  to  the  Ecclesiastical  History  of  the  United 

States  of  America  —  Virginia,"  etc.     By  Rev.  Francis  L. 

Hawks,  D.D.     (Review.)     March. 
Mrs.  L.  Miles's  "  Phrenology/'  etc.  (review),  March. 
"Mahmoud"  (review),  March. 

"Georgia  Scenes,  Characters/'  etc.  (review),  March. 
To  HELEN,  March. 
J.  K.  Paulding's  "  Slavery  in  the  United  States"  (review), 

Four  Beasts  in  One:    The  Homo-Cameleopard  (tale),  March 

1836,  1840;  B.  J.,  ii.  22. 
The    Poems    of   J.    R.    Drake    and    Fitz-Greene    Halleck 

(review),  April. 

''Bubbles  from  the  Brunnens  of  Nassau"  (review),  April. 
Maelzel's  Chess-Player  (essay),  April. 
A  Tale  of  Jerusalem,  April  1836,  1840;  B.  J.,  ii.  n. 
To  SCIENCE,  May  1845  \  B-  J-»  n'-  4- 

Robert  Walsh's  "Didactics  —  Social,  Literary,  and  Politi 
cal"  (review),  May. 
Anthon's  "Sallust"  (review),  May. 
Lieut.  Slidell's  "Spain  Revisited"  (review),  May. 
Frances  Trollope's  "  Paris  and   the   Parisians "   (review), 


J.  K.  Paulding's  "Life  of  Washington "  (review),  May. 
J.  F.  Cooper's  "  Switzerland"  (review),  May. 
IRENE,    May;  Philadelphia  Saturday   Museum,  March    4, 

1843;  B-  J->  i-  l8- 
"  A    Pleasant    Peregrination   through   Pennsylvania,"   etc. 

(review),  June. 
John  Armstrong's  "Notices  of  the  War  of  1812  "  (review), 


"  Recollections  of  Coleridge"  (review),  June. 
Rev.  Calvin  Colton's  "  Thoughts  on  the  Religious  State  of 

the  Country,"  etc.  (review),  June. 
Maury's  "  Navigation  "  (review),  June. 
Stone's  "Ups  and  Downs  in  the  Life  of  a  Distressed  Gen 

tleman"  (review),  June, 
Dickens's  "  Watkins  Tottle"  (review),  June. 
"Flora  and  Thalia"  (review),  June. 
"  House  of  Lords  "  (review),  July. 

Mrs.  L.  H.  Sigourney's  "  Letters  to  Young  Ladies  •'  (re 
view),  July. 


"  The  Doctor  "  (review),  July. 

Frederick   Von   Raumer's   ''England  in    1835"   (review), 


"  Memoirs  of  an  American  Lady  "  (review),  July. 
William  D.  Gallagher's  "  Erato  "  (review),  July. 
"Camperdown"  (review),  July. 

Leigh  Ritchie's  "  Russia  and  the  Russians  "  (review),  July. 
Rev.  Orville  Dewey's  "  The  Old  World  and  the  New,"  etc. 

(review),  August. 
THE  CITY  OF   SIN,  August  (THE  DOOMED  CITY  in  the 

edition  of    1831);    American   Whig  Re-view    (sub-title  A 

PROPHECY),  April  1845;  B-  J-»  »•  8- 
Charles    Richardson's    "  New   Dictionary  of   the   English 

Language"  (review),  August. 

S.  C.  Hall's  "The  Book  of  Gems"  (review),  August. 
Lynch's  "  South  Sea  Expedition  "  (review),  August. 
James  S.  French's  "  Elkswatawa"  (review),  August. 
"Letters  Descriptive  of  the  Virginia  Springs"  (review), 


Lieut.  Slidell's  "  A  Year  in  Spain  "  (review),  August. 
*'  The  Adventures  of  a  Gentleman  in  Search  of  a  Horse  " 

(review),  August. 

Prof.  J.  H.  Ingraham's  "Lafitte"  (review),  August. 
"  Report  of  the  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,"  March  31, 

1836  (review),  August. 
Pinakidia  (essay),  August. 
Draper's  "Lectures"  (review),  August. 
Lieber's  "Memorial"  (review),  August. 
David  B.  Edwards's    "The  History  of  Texas"   (review), 

ISRAFEL,   August ;    Graham's    Magazine,    October    1841  ; 

Phil.  Saturday  Museum,  March  4,  1843;  B.  J.,  ii.  3. 
"Inklings  of  Adventure"  (review),  August. 
Lydia  Maria  Child's   "  Philothea  :   a  Romance  "  (review), 

September.     Also  Broadway  Joiirnal, 
"  Sheppard  Lee"  (review),  September. 
William  Hazlitt's  *'  Literary  Remains,"  etc.  (review),  Sep 

Joseph  Robinson's  "  The  Swiss  Heiress  "  (review),  Octo 
S.  A.  Roszel's  "Address  at  Dickinson  College"  (review), 

Sir  N.  W.  Wraxall's  "  Posthumous  Memoirs  of  His  Own 

Times  "  (review),  October. 


"American  Almanac  for  1837"  (review),  October. 

J.  F.  Cooper's  Sketches  of  "  Switzerland"  (review),  Octo 

Prof.  Thomas  R.  Dew's  "  Address  before  the  Students  of 
William  and  Mary  "  (review),  October. 

Henry  F.  Chorley's  "Memorials  of  Mrs.  Hemans"  (re 
view),  October. 

Dr.  Robert  W.  Haxall's  "Dissertation,"  etc.  (review), 

Captain  Basil  Hall's  "  Skimmings,  or  a  Winter  at  Schloss 
Hainfeld"  (review),  October. 

"  Peter  Snook  "  (review),  October.    Also  Broadway  Journal, 

G,  P.  R.  James's  "Life  of  Richelieu,"  etc.  (review),  Octo 

Baynard  R.  Hall's  "  Latin  Grammar"  (review),  October. 

Eland's  "Chancery  Reports"  (review),  October. 

"  Memoirs  of  Lucien  Bonaparte  "  (review),  October. 

"Madrid  in  1835"  (review),  October. 

"  Medical  Review  "  (review),  November. 

Z.  Collins  Lee's  "  Address  delivered  before  the  Baltimore 
Lyceum,"  etc.  (review),  November. 

"The  Posthumous  Papers  of  the  Pickwick  Club"  (review), 


THE  BRIDAL  BALLAD,  Southern  Literary  Messenger, 
January;  Philadelphia  Saturday  Evening  Post,  July  31, 
1841  J  B.  J.,  ii.  4. 

Beverley  Tucker's  "  George  Balcombe  "  (review),  Southern 
Literary  Messenger,  January. 

The  Narrative  of  Arthur  Gordon  Pym,  Southern  Literary 
Messenger,  January,  February,  1837,  1838. 

Washington  Irving's  "  Astoria "  (review),  Southern  Liter 
ary  Messenger,  January. 

Charles  Anthon's  "Select  Orations  of  Cicero"  (review), 
Southern  Literary  Messenger,  January. 

J.  N.  Reynolds's  "South  Sea  Expedition"  (review),  South 
ern  Literary  Messenger,  January. 

"Poems  by  William 'Cullen  Bryant"  (review),  Southern 
Literary  Messenger,  January. 

To  ZANTE,  Southern  Literary  Messenger,  January ;  Phila 
delphia  Saturday  Museum,  March  4,  1843  '•>  B.  J->  "•  2- 

[Poe  adds  a  note  here  :  "  Mr.  Poe's  attention  being  called 
in  another  direction,  he  will  decline,  with  the  present 


number,  the  editorial  duties  of  the  Messenger.  His  Crit 
ical  Notices  for  this  month  end  with  Professor  Anthon's 
'  Orations'  —  what  follows  is  from  another  hand.  With 
the  best  wishes  to  the  Magazine,  and  to  its  few  foes  as 
well  as  many  friends,  he  is  now  desirous  of  bidding  all 
parties  a  peaceable  farewell."] 

J.  L.  Stephens's  "Arabia  Petraea"  (review),  New  York 
Review,  October. 


OF  NANTUCKET.  By  EDGAR  A.  POE.  New  York: 
Harper  &  Brothers.  1838.  201  pp.  I2mo.  Reprinted  in 
London,  1838,  1841,  1861,  etc. 

Foe's  Reply  to  his  Critics.  Southern  Literary  Messenger ; 
July  Supplement. 

Ligeia  (tale),  The  American  Museum,  September  1838, 
1840;  B.  J.,  ii.  12. 

How  to  Write  a  Blackwood  Article.  The  American  Mu 
seum,  December,  1838,  1840;  B.  J.,  ii.  I. 

A  Predicament  ( The  Scythe  of  Time]  (tale),  The  American 
Museum,  December  1838,  1840;  B.  J.,  ii.  18. 


Silence:  A  Fable  (tale),  Baltimore  Book,  1839,  1840;  B.  J., 
ii.  9. 

Literary  Small  Talk  (essay),  American  Museum,  January, 

Preface  and  Introduction  to  "  The  Conchologist's  First 

THE  HAUNTED  PALACE,  Baltimore  Museum,  April ;  Bur 
ton's  Gentleman's  Magazine  (in  "The  Fall  of  the  House 
of  Usher"),  September;  in  "Tales,"  1840. 

The  Devil  in  the  Belfry  (tale),  Philadelphia  Saturday  Chron 
icle  and  Mirror  of  The  Times,  May  18,  1839,  1840;  B.  J., 
ii.  18. 

A.  POE.  Philadelphia :  Haswell,  Barrington,  and  Has- 
well.  1839.  pp.  156.  I2mo.  Second  edition,  with  12 
colored  plates.  Philadelphia,  1840.  I2mo.  Also  re 
printed  anonymously,  Philadelphia,  1845. 


Contributions  to  Burton's  Gentleman's  Magazine. 

"George  P.  Morris"  (review),  May;  Southern  Literary 
Messenger,  April,  1849  (revised). 



J.  Fenimore  Cooper's  "  History  of  the  American  Navy  " 
(review),  July. 

James's  " Celebrated  Women"  (review),  July. 

Wyatt's  "  Synopsis  of  Natural  History  "  (review).  Short 
notices,  etc.,  July. 

The  Man  that  was  Used  Up  (tale),  August  1839,  l84°>  l843  5 
B.  J.,  ii.  5. 

FAIRY  LAND,  August;  also  appeared  in  1829,  1831,  1845; 
B.  J.  ii.  13. 

To  THE  RIVER ,  August. 

Wallace's  "  Triumphs  of  Science  "  (review),  August. 

N.  P.  Willis's  "  Tortesa,"  and  several  short  notices,  Au 

Fall  of  the  Hoiise  of  Usher  (tale),   September  1839,  1840, 


Glenn's  "Reply  to  the  Critics"  (review),  September. 

Lord  Brougham's  "  Historical  Sketches  of  Statesmen " 
(review),  September. 

"Solomon  See-saw"  (review),  September. 

"  Undine  "  (review),  September. 

William  Wilson  (tale),  October  1839;  The  Gift,  1840; 
B.  J.(  ii.  8. 

Longfellow's  "  Hyperion"  (review),  October. 

Murray's  "  Travels  in  North  America  "  (review),  and  short 
notices,  October. 

Morella  (tale),  November. 

"Canons  of  Good  Breeding"  (review),  November. 

W.  Gilmore  Simms's  "  Damsel  of  Darien"  (review),  and 
short  notices,  November. 

fThe  Conversation  of  Eiros  and  Charmion  (tale),  December 
*  1839,  1840,  1845. 

Dickens's  "Nicholas  Nickleby"  (review),  December. 

Joseph  O.  Chandler's  "  Address  before  the  Goethean  Soci 
ety  "  (review),  December. 

Thomas  Moore's  "  National  Melodies  of  America "  (re 
view),  and  short  notices,  December. 



BESQUE.  By  EDGAR  A.  POE.  In  two  volumes.  Phil 
adelphia:  Lea  &  Blanchard.  pp.  243,  228.  i6mo. 

Contributions  to  Burton's  Gentleman's  Magazine* 

Journal  of  Julius  Rodman,  chap.  I.  (tale),  January. 

'Moore's  "Alciphron"  (review),  January. 

Mathews'  "Memoirs"  (review),  January. 

Journal  of  Julius  Rodman  {continued},  February. 

The  Business  Man  (Peter  Pendulum]  (tale),  February; 
B.  J.,  ii.  4. 

Longfellow's  "  Voices  of  the  Night  "  (review),  February. 

Marryat's  "  Diary  in  America "  and  short  notices  (re 
view),  February. 

Journal  of Jiiliiis  Rodman  (continued},  March. 

Henry  Duncan's  "  Sacred  Philosophy  of  the  Seasons " 
(review),  March. 

N.  P.  Willis's  "  Romance  of  Travel "  and  short  notices 
(review),  March. 

SILENCE,  April ;  Philadelphia  Saturday  Museum,  March  4, 
1843;  B.  J.,ii.  3. 

Journal  of  Julius  Rodman  (continued],  April. 

A  Notice  of  William  Cullen  Bryant,  May. 

Journal  of  Julius  Rodman  (continued),  May. 

The  Philosophy  of  Furniture  (essay),  May;  Broadway  Jour 
nal,  i.  1 8. 

Madame  Malibran's  "  Memoirs  and  Letters "  (review), 

Some  Account  of  Stonehenge  (essay),  June. 

Journal  of  Jiilius  Rodman  (tale)  (continued],  June. 

The  Man  of  the  Crowd  (tale),  December  1840,  1845. 

Mystification  (Von  Jung]  (tale),   1840;  Broadivay  Journal, 

ii.  25. 
Why  the  Little  Frenchman  Wears  his  Hand  in  a  Sling  (tale)r 

1840  ;  Broadway  Journal^  ii.  9. 


Contributions  to  Graham's  Magazine. 

J.  Fenimore  Cooper's  "Mercedes  of  Castile"  (review), 

Mrs.  Norton's  "  Dream  and  Other  Poems "  (review), 

James  McHenry's  "  The  Antediluvians,  or  the  World  De 
stroyed"  (review),  February. 

W.  H.  Ainsworth's  "  The  Tower  of  London  "  (review), 

Longfellow's  ''Ballads  and  other  Poems  "  (review),  March. 

William  Howitt's  "  Visits  to  Remarkable  Places,"  etc.  (re 
view),  March. 

R.  M.  Walsh's  (trans.)  "  Sketches  of  Conspicuous  Living 
Characters  of  France  "  (review),  April. 

The  Murders  in  the  Rue  Morgue  (tale),  April  1841,  1843, 

Bulwer's  "  Night  and  Morning"  (review),  April. 

A  Descent  into  the  Maelstrom  (tale),  May  1841,  1845. 

C.  F.  Francis's  "Writings  of  Charles  Sprague  "  (review), 

Dickens's  "  Old  Curiosity  Shop  "  and  "  Master  Humph 
rey's  Clock  "  (review),  May. 

The  Island  of  the  Fay  (tale),  June  ;  B.  J.,  ii.  13. 

G.  P.  R.  James's  "  Corse  de  Leon  "  (review),  June. 

Macaulay's  "  Critical  and  Miscellaneous  Essays  "  (review), 

A  Few  Words  on  Secret  WTriting  (essay),  July. 

Pue's  "  Grammar  of  the  English  Language "  (review), 

Seba  Smith's  "  Po  what  an  "  (review),  July. 

Lord  Bolingbroke's  "  Works"  (review),  July. 

The  Colloquy  of  Monos  and  Una  (tale),  August  1841,  1845. 

"Life  and  Literary  Remains  of  L.  E.  L."  (Letitia  E.  Lan- 
don),  (review),  August. 

L.  A.  Wilmer's  "  Quacks  of  Helicon  "  (review),  August. 

Irving's  Margaret  M.  Davidson's  "Biography  and  Poeti 
cal  Remains"  (review),  August. 

J.  L.  Stephens's  "  Incidents  of  Travel  in  Central  America" 
(review),  August. 

Secret  Writing  (Thomas's  Letter  and  Poe's  Answer),  Au 

To  HELEN,  September. 


Never  Bet  the  Devil  your  Head:  A  Tale  with  a  Moral, 
September  1841  ;  B.  J.,  ii.  6. 

Thomas  Campbell's  "  Life  of  Petrarch  "  (review),  Septem 

Marryat's  "  Joseph  Rushbrook  "  (review),  September. 

ISRAFEL,  October. 

A  Chapter  on  Autography  (essay),  November. 

"John  G.  Palfrey "  (review),  November. 

W.  H.  Ainsworth's  "Guy  Favvkes  "  (review),  November. 

"The  Gift"  (review).  November. 

E.  L.  Bulwer's  "  Critical  and  Miscellaneous  Essays  "  (re 
view),  November. 

"  The  Pic  Nic  Papers,"  edited  by  Dickens  (review),  No 

Napier's  "Peninsular  War"  (review),  November. 

Warren's  "Ten  Thousand  a  Year"  (review),  November. 

A  Chapter  on  Autography,  II.  (essay),  November. 

"  Lucretia  Maria  Davidson's  Poetical  Remains  "  (review), 

Simms's  "Confession"  (review),  December. 

Some  Secrets  of  the  Magazine  Prison-House  (essay),  Broad 
way  Journal,  i.  7. 

Anastatic  Printing  (essay),  Broadway  Journal,  i.  15. 

Street  Paving  (essay),  Broadway  Journal,  i.  16. 

Three  Sundays  in  a  Week  (tale),  Saturday  Evening  Post, 
Nov.  27  ;  B.  J.,  i.  19. 

Contributions  to  Graham's  Magazine. 

An  Appendix  of  Autographs  (essay),  January. 

Henry  Cockton's  "  Stanley  Thorn"  (review),  January. 

Oliver  Goldsmith's  "  Vicar  of  Wakefield  "  (review),  Janu 

Christopher  North's  (Prof.  John  Wilson)  "Critical  and 
Miscellaneous  Essays"  (review),  January. 

Mrs.  Sigourney's  "  Pocahontas  and  Other  Poems  "  (review), 

Review  of  New  Books,  January. 

A  Few  Words  about  Brainard  (review),  February. 


Cornelius    Mathews'    "Wakondah"    (review),  February; 

Godey's  Lady's  Book,  November,  1845. 

Dickens's  "Barnaby  Rudge  "  (review),  February;  Philadel 
phia  Saturday  Evening  Post,  May  I,  1841. 
Charles  Lever's  "Charles   O'Malley,  the  Irish  Dragoon" 

(review),  March. 
"  The  Critical  and  Miscellaneous  Writings  of  Henry  Lord 

Brougham"  (review),  March. 
To  ONE  DEPARTED,  March ;  Saturday  Museum,  March  4, 


L.  P.  Poulter's  "Imagination"  (review),  March. 
Longfellow's  "  Ballads  and  Other  Poems  "  (review),  April. 
Algernon   Henry   Perkins's   "  Ideals   and   Other   Poems " 

(review),  April. 

The  Oval  Portrait  (tale),  April;  B.  J.,  i.  17. 
Hawthorne's  "  Twice-Told  Tales  "  (review),  April. 
The  Masque  of  the  Red  Death,  A  Fantasy  (tale),  May  1842 ; 

B.  J.,  ii.  2. 
Hawthorne's  "  Twice-Told  Tales  "  (review,  continued  from 

April),  May. 

Bulwer's  "Zanoni"  (review),  June. 
Griswold's    "Poets  and    Poetry  of  America"     (review), 


Tennyson's  "  Poems  "  (review),  September. 
The  Poetry  of  Rufus  Dawes :  A  Retrospective  Criticism, 

Mr.  Griswold  and  the  Poets,  Boston  Miscellany,  November. 

Eleonora  (tale),  The  Gift,  1842;  B.  J.,  i.  21. 

The  Landscape  Garden  (tale),  Snowdetfs  Lady's  Companion, 
October  1842;  B.  J.,  ii.  n. 

The  Mystery  of  Marie  Roget,  a  Sequel  to  the  "  Murders  in 
the  Rtie  Morgue'''  (tale),  Snowden's  Lady's  Companion, 
November,  December,  1842;  February  1843,  l845- 


THE  CONQUEROR  WORM,  Graham's  Magazine,  January  ; 
Philadelphia  Saturday  Museum,  March  4, 1843 ;  B.  J.,  i.  21  j 
ii.  12  (LIGEIA). 


The   Tell-  Tale  Heart  (tale),    The  Pioneer,  January ;   B.  J,, 

ii.  7. 

The  Pit  and  the  Pendulum  (tale),  The  Gift,  1843 ;  B-  J-? 
i.  20. 

The  Mystery  of  Marie  Rogfa  (tale),  Snowden's  Lady's  Com 
panion,  February. 

Our  Amateur  Poets,  No.  I ;  Flaccus,  Graham"1*  Magazine, 

LENORE,  The  Pioneer,  Graham's  Magazine,  February ; 
Philadelphia  Saturday  Museum,  March  4.  Appeared  in 
the  edition  of  1831,  and  in  the  Southern  Literary  Messen 
ger,  January,  1836,  under  the  title  A  P^EAN,  B.  J.,  ii.  6. 

The  Rationale  of  Verse  (essay),  The  Pioneer,  March  1843, 
as  "  Notes  on  English  Verse,"  in  its  first  draft  :  Southern 
Literary  Messenger,  October,  November,  1848,  elabor 

ROMANCE,  Philadelphia  Saturday  Museum,  March  4,  1845  > 
B.  J,  ii.  8. 

AL  AARAAF,  Philadelphia  Saturday  Museum,  March  4. 

THE  SLEEPER,  Philadelphia  Saturday  Museum,  March  4. 
Appeared  in  the  edition  of  1831,  and  in  the  Southern 
Literary  Messenger,  May  1836,  under  the  title  of  IRENE. 

The  Gold-Bug  (tale),  Prize  Story  of  The  Philadelphia  Dol 
lar  Newspaper,  June  21-28,  1843;  l845- 

No.  i  [all  published].  The  Murders  in  the  Rue  Morgue 
and  The  Man  that  was  Used  Up.  Philadelphia.  1843. 

The  Black  Cat  (tale),  The  Philadelphia  United  States  Satur 
day  Post,  Aug.  19,  1843,  1845. 

Contributions  to  the  New  Mirror  published  by    Willis  and 
Morris,  New  York.     Attributed  to  Poe  as  follows  : 

Souvenirs  of  Youth  (headed  "  Original  Translation  from 

the  French,"  signed  E.  P.),  May  13. 
The   Master   Spirits  of   their  Age.     Translated  from  the 

French  (signed  E.  P.),  June  3. 
Anecdotes  of  Suwarrow.     Translated  from  the  French  for 

the  New  Mirror  (signed  E.  P.),  June  3. 
The  Head  of  St.  John  the  Baptist  (Translated  from  the 

French  for  the  New  Mirror  (signed  E.  P.),  June  17. 
The  Literary  Pirate  Foiled.     An  Incident  in  the  Life  of 


Anne  Radcliffe.      Translated  from  the   French  for  the 

New  Mirror  (signed  E.  P.),  June  24. 
A  Morning's  Walk  in  the  Luxembourg.     Translated  from 

the  French  for  the  New  Mirror  (signed  E.  P.),  July  i. 
The  Merchant's  Daughter.     Translated  from  the   French 

for  the  New  Mirror  (signed  E.  P.),  July  15. 
The  above  continued  under  the  same  title  (signed  E.  P.), 

July  22. 
The  above  continued,  with  the  heading  "  The  Merchant's 

Daughter."     A  Novel  from  the  French  of  M.  Scribe. 

Translated  by  A  Lady  for  the  New  Mirror  (no  initial 

signed),  July  29. 
The  above  continued,  under  the  same  heading  as  in  July 

29  (signed  E.  P.),  Aug.  5. 

The  same  story  and  title  (signed  E.  P.),  Aug.  12. 
The  same  (signed  E.  P.),  Aug.  19. 
The  same  (signed  E.  P.),  Aug.  26. 
The  same  (signed  E.  P.),  Sept.  2. 
The  same  under  the  following  heading :  (Communicated.) 

The  Merchant's  Daughter.     A  Novel  from  the  French 

of  M.  Scribe  (concluded)   (signed  E.  P.),  Sept.  9. 
Ennui.     From  the  French  of  Eugene  Guinot.     Translated 

for  the  New  Mirror  (signed  E.  P.),  Sept.  23. 
The  Yellow  Rose.     Translated  for  the  New  Mirror  from 

the  French  of  Bernard.     A  novel  in  Four  Parts.     Part  I., 

Oct.  7. 

The  same.     Part  II.  (not  signed),  Oct.  14. 
The  same.     Part  III.  (not  signed),  Oct.  21. 
The  same,  concluded  (signed  E.  P.),  Oct.  28. 
The  Two  Marines  in  India.     From  the  French  of  A.  Lig- 

niers  (signed  E.  P.),  Nov.  4. 
Women  are  Sometimes  Fickle.     Translated  for  the  New 

Mirror  horn  the  French  of  De  Maynard  (signed  E.  P.), 

Nov.  ii. 

The  Man  Without  a  Name.     Translated  for  the  New  Mir 
ror  from  the  French  of  S.  H.  Berthoud  (signed  E.  P.), 

Nov.  25. 
The  Two  Empresses.     Translated  for  the  New  Mirror  from 

the  Gazette  de  Lausanne  (signed  E.  P.),  Dec.  2. 
Expectation.      Translated  from  the  French  of  Souvestre 

(signed  E.  P.),  Dec.  2. 
The  Story  of   a  Cup  of   Tea.      Translated  for  the  New 

Mirror  from  the  French  of  J.  Lecompte  (signed  E.  P.), 

Dec.  16. 


The  Poet's  Laura.  Translated  from  the  French  for  the 
New  Mirror  (signed  E.  P.),  Dec.  23. 

Three  Visits  to  the  Hotel  des  Invalides,  1705-1806-1840. 
Translated  for  the  New  Mirror  from  the  French  of 
Emile  Marco  de  Saint  Hilaire  (signed  E.  P.),  Dec.  30. 

Our  Amateur  Poets,  No.  3.  William  Ellery  Channing, 
Graham's  Magazine,  August. 

Our  Contributors,  No.  VIII.  Fitz-Greene  Halleck,  Gra 
ham's  Magazine,  September. 

J.  F.  Cooper's  "  Wyandotte  "  (review),  Graham' s Magazine , 

Griswold's  "The  Poets  and  Poetry  of  America,"  Phila 
delphia  Saturday  Museum,  1843. 

In  New  York  Evening  Mirror.     Attributed  to  Poe. 

Three  Visits   to  the  Hotel  des  Invalides.     Second  visit, 

1806  (not  signed),  Jan.  6. 
Three  Visits  to  the  Hotel  des  Invalides  (signed  E.  P.),  Jan. 


Translated  for  the  New  Mirror  horn  the  French  of  Eugene 

Scribe.     The  Price  of  Life  (signed  E.  P.),  Jan.  13. 
Translated  for  the  New  Mirror  from  the  French  of  Louis 

Lurine.     The  Jailer  (signed  E.  P.),  Jan.  20. 
Translated  for  the  New  Mirror  from  the  French  of  La- 

seaux.     The  Bracelet  (signed  E.  P.),  Feb.  3. 
The  Pearl  of  Geneva.     Translated  from  the  French  of  De 

Mirecourt  (signed  E.  K.,  a  typographical  error  for  P.), 

Feb.  17. 
Misfortune    of  having    a    Dowry.     Translated  from    the 

French  of  Paul  Merruau  (signed  E.  P.),  Feb.  24. 
Parisian  Chronicle.  __  Translated  for  the  New  Mirror  from 

the  Courrier  des  £tats  Unis  (signed  E.  P.),  March  2. 
The  Oath  that  Was  Kept.    Translated  for  the  New  Mirror 

from  the  French  of  Mark  Perrin  (not  signed),  March  9. 
The  same  (concluded)  (signed  E.  P.),  March  16. 
Paris  in  Robe  de  Chambre  (signed  E.  P.),  March  23. 
The  Princess  Pauline  (signed  E.  P.),  March  30. 
The  Professor's  Daughter  (signed  E.  P.),  April  13. 



Parisian  Chronicle  (signed  E.  P.),  April  27. 

The  Love  Letter  ;  or,  A  Secret  of  the  Confessional  (signed 

E.  P.),  May  18. 

Parisian  Chronicle  (signed  E.  P.),  June  8. 
Parisian  Chronicle  (signed  E.  P.),  June  15. 
Parisian  Correspondence  (signed  E.  P.),  June  22. 
A  Cottage  and  a  Palace  (signed  E.  P.),  July  13. 
The  Passport  —  A  Parisian  Story  (signed  E.  P.),  Aug.  3. 
The  Will  (signed  E.  P.),  Aug.  31. 
The  Times  of  the  Emperour  (signed  E.  P.),  Sept.  7. 
Little    Tarts    of    Prince    Bedridden.      In    two    chapters. 

Chapter  First,  A  Dinner   by   Careme   (signed    E.    P.), 

Sept.  21. 

R.   H.    Home's   "Orion"    (review),  Graham's    Magazine, 


The  Elk  (tale),   The  Opal. 
J.    R.   Lowell's   "  Poems "    (review),    Graham's  Magazine, 

A     Tale   of  the   Ragged  Mountains,    Godey's  Lady's  Book, 

April ;  B.  J.,  ii.  21. 

The  Spectacles  (tale),  sent  to  Home,  April ;  B.  J.,  ii.  20. 
Diddling  Considered  as   One  of  the  Exact  Sciences  (tale), 

B.  J.,  ii.  23. 

The  Balloon  Hoax  (tale),   The  (New  York)  Sun,  April  13. 
DREAMLAND,    Graham's     Magazine,    June    1844,    1845  J 

Broadway  Journal,  i.  26. 
Mesmeric    Revelation  (tale),   Columbian  Magazine,  August 

'1844,  1845.     Reprinted  in  London,  1846. 
The  Premature  Biirial  (tale),  some  unknown  Philadelphia 

publication,  August;  B.  J.,  i.  24. 
The  Oblong  Box  (tale),    Godey's  Lady's  Book,  September  ; 

B.  J.,  ii.  23. 

Thou  Art  the  Man  (tale),  Godey's  Lady's  Book,  November. 
The  Literary  Life   of  Thingum  Bob,  Esq.  (tale),  S.  L.  M., 

December  1844  ;  B.  J.,  ii.  3. 

The  Angel  of  the  Odd  (tale),  Columbian  Magazine,  October. 
Marginalia,   No.   I,  Democratic  Review,  November  ;  No.  2, 

Amelia  Welby  (review),  Democratic  Review,  December. 



THE    RAVEN,     The  Evening  Mirror,  January   29,   1845; 

The  American   Whig  Review,  February  1845;    Southern 

Literary  Messenger,  March  1845;  Broadway 'Journal,  i.6. 

FOE.    New  York:  Wiley  and  Putnam.    1845.    pp.  3,  228. 

TALES  BY  EDGAR  A.  POE.     New  York  :  Wiley  and 

Putnam.     1845.    PP-  3»  228-     I2mo. 
EULALIE.     American    Whig  Review,  with  "  A  SONG  "  as 

subtitle,  July  1845;  K.  J->  "•  5- 
The  Purloined  Letter  (tale),   The  Gift,  1845  5  l845- 
The    Thousand  and  Second    Tale    of  Scheherazade   (tale), 

Godey's  Lady's  Book,  February ;  B.  J.,  ii.  16. 
Some   Words  with  a  Mummy  (tale),  American    Whig  Re 
view,  April;  B.  J.,  ii.  17. 
THE  VALLEY  OF  UNREST,  American  Whig  Review,  April  ; 

B.  J.,  ii.  9.     Appeared   in    the  edition  of  1831,  and  the 

S.  L.  M.,  February,  1836,  as  THE  VALLEY  Nis. 
Fifty  Suggestions  (essay),  Graham's  Magazine,  May,  June; 

A  Chapter  of  Suggestions,  The  0/a/,  1845. 
The  Power  of  Words   (essay),  Democratic  Review,  June ; 

B.  J.,  ii.  1 6. 
The  Imp  of  the  Perverse  (tale),    Graham's  Magazine,  July 

1845  5  Mayflower,  1845. 
The  System  of  Dr.  Tarr  and  Prof.  Fether  (tale),  Graham's 

Magazine,  November. 
The  Facts  in  the  Case  of  M.    Valdemar  (tale),  American 

Whig  Review,  December;  B.  J.,  ii.  24. 

Reviews,  essays,  etc.,  in  the  Broadway  Journal,  signed  with 

Poe's  initial  (P.)  in  his  own  copy,  now  in  the  possession  of 

F.  R.  Halsey,  Esq.,  or  otherwise  indicated  as  Poe's.     The 

Tales  and  Poems  which  had  appeared  previously  in  other 

forms,  or  in  other  journals,  are  not  repeated  here. 

Elizabeth  B.  Barrett's  "  Drama  of  Exile  "  (review  in  two 

parts),  Jan.  4  and  n  ;  cf.  Evening  Mirror,  1844. 
American  Prose  Writers,  No.  2,  N.  P.  Willis,  Jan.  18. 
"Poems  by  Sir  Edward  Lytton  Bulwer  "  (review),  Feb.  8. 
Some  Secrets  of  the  Magazine  Prison-House  (essay),  Feb. 


Imitation  —  Plagiarism.  Mr.  Foe's  Reply  to  the  letter  of 
"  Outis,"  March  8.1 

"A  Continuation  of  the  Voluminous  History  of  the  Little 
Longfellow  War,"  March  15. 

"  Satirical  Poems  "  (review),  March  15. 

Some  Passages  in  the  Life  of  a  Lion,  March  15. 

Mrs.  R.  S.  Nichols  (review),  March  22. 

Continuation  of  a  Reply  to  "  Outis,"  March  22. 

"The  New  Comedy,"  by  Mrs.  Mowatt  (review),  March  28. 

"  Human  Magnetism,"  etc.  (review),  April  5. 

Conclusion  of  a  Reply  to  "  Outis,"  April  5. 

Prospects  of  the  Drama,  Mrs.  Mowatt's  Comedy  (review), 
April  5. 

"  Dictionary  of  Greek  and  Roman  Antiquities,"  edited  by 
William  Smith,  Ph.D.  (review),  April  12. 

"  The  Magazines  "  (a  short  review),  May  26. 

Mrs.  L.  M.  Child's  "  Philothea"  (review),  May  31. 

Magazine  Writing  —  Peter  Snook,  June  7. 

Anastatic  Printing  (essay),  April  12. 

"The  Antigone"  at  Palma's  (review),  April  12. 

Street  Paving  (essay),  April  12. 

"Achilles'  Wrath"  (review),  April  19. 

"Old  English  Poetry  —  The  Book  of  Gems,"  edited  by 
S.  C.  Hall  (review),  May  17. 

"  Poems  by  William  W.  Lord"  (review),  May  24. 

"Plato  contra  Atheos,"  etc.,  by  Tayler  Lewis,  LL.D.  (re 
view),  June  21. 

"The  Coming  of  the  Mammoth,"  by  Henry  B.  Hirst  (re 
view),  July  12. 

"Alfred  Tennyson"  (review),  July  19. 

House  Furniture  (essay),  May  3. 

How  to  Write  a  Blackwood  Article  (essay),  July  12. 

1  The  Broadway  Journal  headings  to  Divisions  II.,  III.,  IV., 
V.,  of  the  "  Longfellow  War  "  are  as  follows  :  — 

II.  "A  Continuation  of  the  Voluminous  History  of  the  Little 
Longfellow   War  —  Mr.    Foe's  Further  Reply   to    the  Letter  of 

III.  "  More  of  the  Voluminous  History  of  the  Little  Longfel 
low  War  —  Mr.  Poe's  Third  Chapter  of  Reply  to  the  Letter  of 

IV.  "Imitation  —  Plagiarism  —  The  Conclusion  of  Mr.  Poe's 
Reply  to  the  Letter  of  Outis." 

V.  "  Plagiarism  —  Imitation  —  Postscript  to  Mr.  Poe's  Reply 
to  the  Letter  of  Outis."  —  EDITOR. 


"The  Magazines"  (short  review),  July  12. 
"  The  Drama"  (Mrs.  Mowatt  at  Niblo's),  July  19,26,  Aug.  2. 
"The  Chaunt  of  Life,"  by  Rev.  Ralph  Hoyt  (review),  July  26. 
"The  Lost  Pleiad  and  Other  Poems,"  by  T.  H.  Chivers 

(review),  Aug.  2. 
"  The   Fortune    Hunter ;   or,  The  Adventures   of  a  Man 

About  Town."     By  Mrs.  Anna  Cora  Mowatt  (review), 

Aug.  2. 
"  Wiley  and  Putnam's  Library  of  Choice  Reading."     No. 

XVI.  Prose  and  Verse.      By  Thomas  Hood  (review), 
Aug.  9. 

"Ettore  Fieramosca,"  etc.    By  Massimo  D'Azeglio.   Trans 
lated  by  C.  Edwards  Lester  (review),  Aug.  9. 
Editorial  Miscellany,  Aug.  9. 
HYMN  (Catholic  Hymn),  Aug.  16. 
Wiley   and    Putnam's   Library  of   Choice   Reading.     No. 

XVII.  The    Characters   of   Shakspeare.     By   William 
Hazlitt  (review),  Aug.  16. 

The  Poetical  Writings  of  Mrs.  Elizabeth  Oakes  Smith  (re 
view),  Aug.  23. 

"  Review  of  Graham's  Magazine  for  August,  Aug.  16. 
"Wiley  and  Putnam's  Library  of  Choice  Reading"     No. 

XIX.  Prose  and  Verse.     By  Thomas  Hood.    Part  II. 
(review),  Aug.  23,  30. 

"  Dashes  at  Life  with  a  Free  Pencil."    By  N.  P.  Willis. 

Part  III.  (review),  Aug.  23. 
"Wiley  and  Putnam's  Library  of  Choice  Reading."     No. 

XX.  The  Indicator  and  Companion.     By  Leigh  Hunt 
(review),  Aug.  30. 

"Wiley  and  Putnam's  Library  of  Choice  Reading."     No. 

XXI.  Genius  and  Character  of  Burns.     By  Professor 
Wilson  (review),  Sept.  6. 

"Festus:    A   Poem  by   Philip   James   Bailey"    (review), 

Sept.  6. 

"  Saul,  a  Mystery.    By  Rev.  Arthur  Coxe  "  (review),  Sept.  6. 
"  Review  of  the  Democratic  Review"  Sept.  20. 
"  The  Prose  Works  of  John  Milton.     With  a  Biographical 

Introduction  by  Rufus  Wilmot  Griswold  "  (review),  Sept. 

"Wiley  and  Putnam's  Library  of  American  Books."     No. 

IV.    The  Wigwam  and  the  Cabin.     By  William  Gilmore 

Simms  (review),  Oct.  4. 
"The  Broken  Vow  and  Other  Poems.     By  Amanda  M. 

Edmond"  (review),  Oct.  n. 


"  Historical  Sketch  of  the  Second  War  between  the  United 

States  of   America  and   Great  Britain.     By  Charles  J. 

Ingersoll"  (review),  Oct.  n. 
"The  Songs  of  Our  Land  and  Other  Poems."     By  Mary  E. 

Hewitt  (review),  Oct.  25. 
The  Power  of  Words  (tale),  Oct.  25. 
"  Alice   Ray ;    a    Romance    in    Rhyme.     By    Mrs.    Sarah 

Josepha  Hale"  (review),  Nov.  I. 
The  Fine  Arts,  "La  Sortie  du  Bain,"  Nov.  I. 
Editorial  Miscellany  (Boston  and  the  Bostonians),  (review), 

Nov.  i,  22 
F.  Von  Raumer's   "  America  and  the  American  People " 

(review),  Nov.  29. 

"  Poems  by  Frances  S.  Osgood  "  (review),  Dec.  13. 
"Notes  on  Hudson"  (review),  Dec.  13. 
Brook  Farm  (review),  Dec.  13. 
Editorial  Miscellany  (notice  of  Leigh  Hunt),  Dec.  20. 

A  Chapter  of  Suggestions.     First  Part.     Opal,  1845. 

The   American  Drama  (essay),  American    Whig  Review, 

Marginalia.     No.  3.    Godey's  Lady's  Book,  August.     No.  4. 

"Big  Abel  and  the  Little  Manhattan"  (review),  Godey's 

Lady's  Book,  November. 


Valedictory,  signed  E.  A.  Poe,  Broadway  Journal,  Jan.  3. 

"  The  Wigwam  and  the  Cabin  "  (review),  Godey's  Lady's 
Book,  January. 

Mrs.  Frances  Sargent  Osgood's  "  Wreath  of  Wild  Flowers 
from  New  England"  and  "Poems"  (review),  Godey's 
Lady's  Book,  March. 

Marginalia.  No.  5.  Graham's  Magazine,  March.  No.  6. 
Democratic  Review,  April.  No.  7.  Graham's  Magazine, 
November.  No.  8.  Graham's  Magazine,  December. 

The  Philosophy  of  Composition  (essay),  Graham's  Maga 
zine,  April. 

"  William  Cullen  Bryant "  (review),  Godey's  Lady's  Book, 

The  Literati,  published  in  Godey's  Lady's  Book,  May  to 
October,  1846. 


May.  —  i.  George  Bush.     2.  George  H.  Colton.     3.  N.  P. 

Willis.     4.  William  M.  Gillespie.     5.  Charles  F.  Briggs. 

6.  William  Kirkland.     7.  John  F.  Francis. 
June. —  i.  Anna  Cora   Mowatt.     2.  George  B.   Cheever. 

3.  Charles     Anthon.       4.  Ralph    Hoyt.       5.  Julian   V. 

Verplanck.     6.  Freeman  Hunt.     7.  Piero  Maroncelli.    8. 

Laughton  Osborn. 
July. —  i.  Fitz-Greene  Halleck.     2.  Ann  S.  Stephens.     3. 

Everett  A.  Duyckinck.  4.  Mary  Gove.  5.  James  Aldrich. 

6.  Thomas  Dunn  English.     7.  Henry  Carey.     8.  Chris 
topher  Pearse  Cranch  (Poe  printed  "  Pease"). 
August.  —  i.  Sarah   Margaret    Fuller.     2.  James   Lawson. 

3.  Caroline  M.  Kirkland.     4.  Prosper  M.  Wetmore.     5. 

Emma  C.  Embury.     6.  Epes  Sargent. 
September. —  i.  Frances  S.   Osgood.     2.  Lydia  M.   Child. 

t  Elizabeth   Bogart.     4.  Catherine    M.    Sedgwick.      5. 
ewis  Gaylord  Clark.     6.  Anne  C.  Lynch. 
October.  —  i.    Charles     Fenno     Hoffman.       2.    Mary    E. 

Hewitt.     3.  Richard  Adams  Locke. 

The  Cask  of  Amontillado  (tale),  Godey's  Lady's  Book,  No 


The  Domain  ofArnheim  (tale),  Columbian  Magazine,  March. 
This  tale  is  an  enlargement  of  "  The  Landscape  Gar 

To  M.  L.  S.,  Home  Journal,  March  13. 

Nathaniel  Hawthorne's  "  Twice-Told  Tales,"  "  Mosses 
from  an  old  Manse,"  etc.  (review),  Godey's  Lady's  Book, 

ULALUME  (sub-title,  To ),  American  Whig  Re 
view,  December  ;  Home  Journal,  January,  1848  ;  Gris- 
wold,  1850. 

Marginalia,  No.  9,  Graham's  Magazine,  January ;  No.  10, 


To  H.  H.,  Columbian  Magazine,  March. 
EUREKA.   A  PROSE  POEM.     By  EDGAR  A.  POE.  Geo. 

P.Putnam:  New  York.    1848.    pp.  143.    I2mo.     Repub- 

lished  in  London  by  Chapman. 
AN  ENIGMA  (Sonnet),  Union  Magazine,  March. 


Mrs.  S.  Anna  Lewis's  "  The  Child  of  the  Sea,  and  Other 
Poems  "  (review),  Southern  Literary  Messenger,  Septem 

The  Rationale  of  Verse  (essay),  Southern  Literary  Messen 
ger,  October,  November. 

To  HELEN,  To ,  Union  Magazine,  November, 



Mdlonta  Tauta  (tale),  Codecs  Lady's  Book,  February. 

Hop-Frog  (tale),  The  Flag  of  our  Union. 

To  MY  MOTHER,  Flag  of  our  Union. 

A  VALENTINE,  Sartain's  Union  Magazine,  March  ;  Flag  of 
our  Union,  1849. 

Lowell's  "A  Fable  for  Critics"  (review),  Southern  Liter 
ary  Messenger,  February  ;  Graham's  Magazine,  March. 

Marginalia,  Nos.  n,  12,  13,  14,  15;  Southern  Literary  Mes 
senger,  May  to  September. 

FOR  ANNIE,  Flag  of  our  Union-,  Griswold,  1850. 

ANNABEL  LEE,  N.  Y.  Tribune,  Oct.  9;  Sartain's  Union 
Magazine,  January,  1850. 

A  Chapter  of  Suggestions.  Second  Part  (essay),  Graham 's 
Magazine,  May,  June. 

"Frances  Sargent  Osgood"  (review),  Southern  Literary 
Messenger,  August. 

THE  BELLS,  Sartain's  Union  Magazine,  November  1849. 


"  About  Critics  and  Criticism  "  (review),  Graham's  Maga 
zine,  January. 

"Edwin  Percy  Whipple  and  Other  Critics  "  (review),  Gra 
ham's  Magazine,  January. 

Joel  Tyler  Headley's  "The  Sacred  Mountains"  (review), 
Southern  Literary  Messenger,  October. 

The  Poetic  Principle,  Sartain's  Union  Magazine,  October. 

A  DREAM  WITHIN  A  DREAM,  Griswold. 

ELDORADO,     Griswold.     No  earlier  publication  known. 

POE.  With  a  Memoir  by  Rufus  Wilmot  Griswold,  and 
Notices  of  His  Life  and  Genius  by  N.  P.  Willis  and  J. 
R.  Lowell,  in  four  volumes.  Redfield,  34  Beekman. 


Street.  1850-1856.  (Preface  by  Mrs.  Maria  Clemm.) 
(Copyrighted,  1849.)  Tne  same  in  three  volumes,  1850; 
in  four  volumes,  1853. 

THE  LITERATI  :  Some  Honest  Opinions  about  Autorial 
Merits  and  Demerits,  with  Occasional  Words  of  Person 
ality,  together  with  Marginal  Suggestions,  and  Essays, 
With  a  Sketch  of  the  Author,  by  R.  W.  Griswold.  New 
York:  J.  S.  Redfield.  1850.  pp.  xxxix,  607.  I2mo. 
(Vol.  III.  of  Griswold's  edition.) 

"  Henry  B.  Hirst  "  (review),  Griswold. 

"Elizabeth  Frieze  Ellett"  (review),  Griswold. 

"Estelle  Anna  Lewis"  (review),  Griswold. 

ALONE,  Scribner's  Magazine,  September  1875. 

Poe's  Addenda  to  "  Eureka,"  Methodist  Review,  January. 


X-ing  a  Paragrab  (tale).     The  text  follows  Griswold. 

The  Sphinx  (tale),  Griswold. 

Von  Kempelen  and  his  Discovery  (published  not  earlier 
than  1848),  Griswold. 

Lander's  Cottage.  Sent  to  Metropolitan  before  1848.  Once 
accepted,  then  rejected  by  the  Metropolitan.  Mentioned 
in  Poe's  Correspondence,  1848-49.  Griswold. 

Poe's  Introduction  to  "  The  Tales  of  the  Folio  Club,"  in 
MS.  in  the  possession  of  Mrs.  Wm.  M.  Griswold,  of 
Cambridge,  Mass.,  printed  for  the  first  time  in  this 

Poe's  Autobiographic  Memorandum,  1841-1843? 


THE  SKELETON  HAND,  The  Yankee,  August  1829. 

THE  MAGICIAN,   The   Yankee  and  Boston  Literary  Gazette, 

December  1829? 
UNPUBLISHED  POETRY,  The  Yankee,  December  1829. 


To  ISADORE,  Broadway  Journal,  1845. 

THE  VILLAGE  STREET,  Broadway  Journal,  1845. 

THE  FOREST  REVERIE,  Broadway  Journal,  1845. 

ANNETTE,  Broadway  Journal,  I845.1 


THE    FIRE  LEGEND,   Southern  Literary   Messenger,  July 

1863.     From  an  unpublished  MS.  of  the  late  Edgar  A. 

THE  POETS  AND  POETRY  OF  AMERICA.     A  Satire.      By 

Lavante.      Philadelphia:    William  S.   Young,  No.   317 

Race  Street.    1847. 

14  DAY  USE 



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